Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Growing and Drying Herbs for Year Round Use by Joyce D’Agostino

Garlic Chives photo by Joyce D'Agostino
When the fall comes and most of the annual garden begins to fade, those of us who enjoy gardening find that we miss the enjoyment of growing during the “off season”.
If you grow herbs, then many of these plants can be started inside (or the containers brought inside) and grown all year around.
Cilantro photo by Joyce D'Agostino
When you begin to choose your herb plants, note that there are two types of herbs, the perennial type and the annual type. The annuals for our climate include tender herbaceous types such as basil, which won’t tolerate cold weather and hard freezes. Cilantro for example enjoys the cooler weather of spring and fall but also won’t tolerate a hard freeze. However there are perennials that have more woody stems such as thyme and Greek Oregano which have woody stems and can be harvested even during the cold winter months. These hardy plants establish new growth and fresh green leaves in the spring and many produce flowers that the bees and butterflies enjoy.

If you want to enjoy fresh herbs throughout the year, growing them inside is easy in small containers. Be sure to read about each herb you are interested in to find out how large it grows so that you choose the right size for your countertop space. If you want to start an herb garden, be sure to know which herbs can be safely left outside all year round and which must be brought inside. 
Having a grow light system helps give enough light to keep your herbs healthy and growing. There are some systems such as the Aerogrow which were designed to fit on countertops and have their own built in grow lights. However you can also get good results with just a simple grow light system and regular gardening pots and containers. 
The following articles give you good tips on choosing the right herb for your needs and even recipes:

Summer Savory photo by Joyce D'Agostino