You can have your winter herb garden survive until spring when you follow these 5 steps for success. Learn the principles to help plants thrive and survive when it is cold outside.
One of the problems in the first years of herb gardening comes at the approach of fall. It can be a guessing game to know what to leave, what to bring indoors and what to mulch. Fortunately, most herbs are hardy perennials and need no winter protection beyond a watchful eye.
“To walk among the herbs on a late November day is an adventure.” Adelma Grenier Simmons Herb Gardening in Five Seasons
Familiarize yourself with the herbs in your garden and whether they are annuals, perennials, or biennials. Then putting your herbs to bed for the winter will be less of a puzzle, and you will have seen only minor loss in the spring.
Annuals do not return from the root next year. The primary annuals grown in the herb garden are basil, chervil cilantro, chamomile, pineapple sage, calendula, and stevia. These herbs should be harvested before the first frost and can be dried for enjoyment in the kitchen using one of these three herb preservation methods.
Biennial herbs take two years to complete their lifecycle from start to seed. These plants, which are often grown as annuals are dill, parsley, summer savory, bay laurel (depending on your zone), and some of the sage varieties. Your best bet for winter survivability with biennials is to harvest what you can and mulch the plant. We’ll talk more about the below.
Tender perennials are plants that will survive to see another year, but not in your garden zone. These are plants like lemon verbena, and some of the lavender varieties, that do well overwintering in warm climates, but not in your zone 3 to 7.
Herbaceous perennials are plants that come back from the same root stock year after year. They lose their leaves once frost hits. You’ll find they are the backbone of your garden and will give it the most interest during the winter months when the vegetable garden is long gone.
For the kitchen garden, these herbs are oregano, mint, thyme, tarragon, chives, lavender, and rosemary. You’ll find that almost all medicinal herbs fall into this category too.
For the rest of this post, join me over at Minnesota Country Girl where I have the privilege of guest posting for Homestead Winter Prep: A Series of Harvesting & Preserving!