Some herb gardens need to be put to bed for the winter to come back strong in the spring. Others may be planted in containers that can grow out of season indoors. Some herb gardens are filled with plants that grow best in the colder fall and winter months.
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Winterising a Spring and Summer Herb Garden
Because many herbs are perennial, it is possible to winterise your herb garden so these survive to come to life again next spring and summer. Start by weeding your garden and removing any dead plants. This minimises the instance of insects overwintering with your herbs. Pot or take cuttings from any perennial herbs that are too frost sensitive to stay outdoors all winter in your climate. Keep these indoors and replant in the spring. Protect the remaining plants with 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch to protect the soil from freezing around the plants' roots.
Growing Herbs Out of Season Indoors
Most herbs can grow indoors even out of season. They need plenty of light, at least eight hours a day, as well as water and feeding. Any plant grown in a pot needs more water and fertiliser than if it were grown in the ground, due to the smaller amount of soil. Water your herbs when the soil is dry to a quarter inch and fertilise once a month with a balanced, liquid plant food. If you don't have a window that allows enough light for your herbs to thrive, consider attaching fluorescent light fixtures to the underside of bookshelves and placing your plants under them.
Planting a Fall and Winter Herb Garden
Some herbs thrive in the cooler months of fall and winter. An outdoor fall and winter herb garden has the benefit of being nearly pest free. It also doesn't have to fight for light and water with as many weeds as a spring and summer herb garden does. For best results, amend your soil with compost after the end of your summer garden, and allow the soil to rest for a few weeks before planting for the fall and winter.
Herbs that Grow Well in Colder Months
Herbs that grow well outdoors during the winter months include cilantro, dill, oregano and sorrel. Leaf lettuces combine well with herbs to round out an outdoor winter garden. For indoor herb gardens, consider parsley, mint, chive and sage. Basil and geranium plants may be brought indoors to overwinter and then replanted outside.
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- North Carolina State University; Winterizing the Herb Garden; Linda Blue, et al.; January 1999
- Colorado State University Extension: Planttalk Colorado: Indoor Herb Garden
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension; Fall and Winter Herb Gardening; Audrey Alessi; Sept. 27, 2007