Parsley Loves Autumn : The Seasons of Herb Gardening

I really enjoy the vegetable garden and can absolutely lose myself in the middle of beautiful zinnias, sunflowers and large leaf greens, but the plants that amaze me most are herbs. I've not seen one variety of herb that is not both easy on the eyes and easy on my plate! That, my friends, is a win/win and deserves more than an honorable mention! As last summer's vegetable plants slowly gave up the ghost, one by one I plucked their lifeless bodies from the soil and tossed them to the compost bin to be next year's soil nutrition.  The gardens eventually returned to dust, minus an herb or two that remained green and received my mercy by not getting plucked just yet.

Fast forward two months. It is the middle of November. We have had several frost bit nights already. I returned to my gardens to flip the dirt one last time before Old Man Winter arrives.

OMG! Look! This parsley is way more gorgeous now than it ever was in June and July.

 I have grown herbs in pots for several years, but this is the first season to have an actual garden bed designated for growing plants that flavor my food. OH Pj...after seeing this new growth you obviously have so much to learn about herbs. Time to grab a cup of coffee and snuggle up to my Google+ communities again! Turns out, it's not just parsley and oregano that are more comfy in the colder climate than in the blazing Tennessee heat. There are several that thrive better after mid August has past.

Some Good to Know Facts about how and when herbs thrive best:

Rosemary, thyme and sage grow through the warm season, and will live over the winter, although they are mostly dormant without much growth. DO NOT pull these herbs up and toss to the compost at the end of the season like my silly self did! Although I am thankful I spared that rosemary I planted by my deck. But only because I have been lazy about cleaning out those beds this year.

Oregano, chives and mint are perennial, but they go into dormancy for winter and look completely dead, though they will grow back in the spring. Good news to me! For some reason I left that little scrawny oregano too. Here is what it looks like now.  Mmm...think I'll make some pizza sauce with this!

Also good to know is, annual herbs, such as basil and dill, will live through only one growing season, during which they will grow leaves, flower and then make seeds. The seeds will lie dormant through the winter and then naturally germinate when spring warms things up again.

Garlic can be planted fall or spring too in warmer regions. As a side note, even after researching, I still don't know if garlic is a true herb. Some say yes, some say it is kin to the onion. Whichever it is a must in my kitchen, therefore will always be in my garden. I house it with in with the herbs. That just seems fair to me.  Hey, If you know for sure if garlic is an herb or an onion,or whatever, let me know too in the comments below. Thanks! 

So, I realize I may be a little late in sharing this info for saving parsley, oregano and a few other herbs with new gardeners. Most are probably like me and have closed shop for the winter, but keep this in mind for your herbs next year. I know I surely will!

OH, and JSYK,
Alot of what I have learned about these herbs and cooler weather, I found at:
Harvest to Table  and State by State Gardening.  Two awesome spots for folks like me who love to flip dirt!

Hope this info helps you not to whack out all your herbs before you have to!

Flip More Dirt Ya'll
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