For gardeners who have tried and possibly failed at planting
herbs in the spring or summer, you may have already figured out
that planting herbs in the fall is usually best for many herbs.
Especially for herbs grown from bulbs, planting them in the fall
gives them a chance to make roots and they will be ready for
harvest in the spring. Since herbs are almost always very
delicate plants, planting herbs in the fall is the best because
of the cool weather. The harsh humid conditions that occur in
many parts of the country throughout the summer means that herbs
will have a difficult time getting started, let alone surviving.
Of course, planting herbs in the fall is not for all climate
zones, especially for climate zones above 5 or 6, and not for all
herbs. In these climate zones, it is usually cool enough through
the spring and summer months to grow herbs and may be too cool in
the quickly approaching cold weather of the fall months. If you
are interested in particular herbs then it is best to research
their hardiness independently for climate zones 1-5.
For the rest of the country, planting herbs in the fall works
well because herbs need lots of sun, but do not need the humidity
that goes along with the sunshine. There is a fine balance
between too little and too much sunshine for these delicate
plants, who usually need about five to six hours of sunlight a
day. Keep in mind that there are a few herbs that enjoy the
shade, such as parsley and mint, but the majority of herbs prefer
at least a few hours of sunlight a day.
The best part about planting herbs in the fall is that herbs can
easily be planted in containers, just in case the weather gets
cold. This way herbs can be moved to a greenhouse or indoors
where grow lights or just placing them in a sunny window will
keep them at bay for the winter.
It really is best to start out small herb plants or herbs from
seeds in small pots in the fall and transfer them to the ground
in the spring, if at all. Since they are so fragile, placing them
right in the ground might mean not getting good results. Remember
that there are a few herbs that come in the form of perennial
bulbs, such as garlic, fennel, saffron, and shallots, but the
rest are in the form of plants or seeds. Herb perennial bulbs
should be placed in the ground as the fall weather approaches,
but at least 6-8 weeks before a freeze, this way they have time
to establish roots before becoming dormant.
There are both annual and perennial herbs as well as biennial
herbs. Popular annual herbs include basil, borage, cilantro,
chamomile, and rosemary. Popular perennials and biennials include
parsley, sage, and mint. Most herbs are annuals and the point of
planting herbs in the fall is to give them a chance to get rooted
and be prepared for an entire season in the early spring and
summer months. That means you will be harvesting these annuals in
the midst of the summer when the heat of the summer is useful in
helping dry herbs for storage.
Ted Roberson owner of landscape living is a landscape and
garden enthusiast who has years of experience working and
creating outdoor living areas. Discover how you can improve
and maintain your landscape and garden area with simple
projects you can do around your home and garden that you
will enjoy. http://www.landscapeliving.com
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