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Fall Herb Gardening

August 31st, 2012

Hasn’t the summer been flying? It feels like we blinked once in June, and here we are, discussing fall gardening tips. Fall is the perfect season to plan out your herb garden, perform small maintenance chores, and grow new herbs for the New Year.  While you’re looking forward to those crisp evenings, rosy cheeks, hot soups, and the smell of bonfires, keep these fall herb gardening tips in mind:

Have A Plan For Fall

Keeping a garden notebook can make the difference between a fine garden, and a great one. Take a few moments to make simple map of what you’d like to grow and where. Also, make notes of your past successes and failures, which herbs did not grow well, and a possible reason behind it. Jot down which herbs you used the most often, and which you used the least. This all will make your herb garden more successful this fall.

Annual Herb Fall Care

If you are searching for herbs with little commitment, annual herbs are a great choice. This includes basil, dill, parsley, rosemary and marjoram. Generally, annual herbs can stay in the ground if they continue to do well. If not, annual herbs are easy to clean out and replace in the fall.

If you have an herb garden already in place, take a look and decide which herbs need to be cut back. Thin any herbs that have grown past their boundaries. If you plan on seed saving and replanting, wait until your herbs have finished their growing cycle by flowering and making seeds.

Perennial Herb Fall Care

Perennial herbs may start to accumulate dead growth at this time. It’s your choice if you prefer to cut it back and dispose of it (or compost), or leave it for foraging birds or animals in the garden. If you decide to leave it, be aware that fall is the time when animals may be looking into your garden for a more reliable food source. Therefore, it’s important to harvest your herbs as they become available, and/or place adequate fencing around the herbs to protect them.

Consider drying or freezing herbs if you find they are growing in abundance. Plants that do not dry well are generally chives, parsley, cilantro, and tarragon. Try freezing these herbs, or adding them to salad dressings or marinades for more aromatic appeal.

Fall Planting

Many gardeners save planting for the springtime, yet herbs can and should be planted in the fall. Herbs thrive in the cooler air, as well as the softer soil, and tend thrive in these conditions. Planting in the fall also means they will be ready for harvest early the next year. Herbs that grow best in the fall include: basil, dill, cilantro, and parsley. You may want to add new soil or soil builder to ensure richness.

Preparing For Fall Frost

Cooler weather comes as early as September for some, and has the potential to bring unexpected frosts.  To prevent frost damage, the best method is to move plants in containers or pots inside before the first frost. However, if plants are rooted in the ground, use old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and lightly drape them over your plants in the evening.  Ensure the covers are removed in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight.  Stones, stakes or bricks can also be used to prevent covers from blowing off.  Also, avoid using heavy blankets or place wire around the plant to balance the weight and prevent crushing.

Have you purchased your Uncle Herb’s Favorites seed kit for fall? You’ll find 10 great herb choices of non-GMO and non-hybrid varieties.

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