Fall Herb Gardens
Autumn and Early Winter Herbs

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The onset of Autumn and ultimately winter does not need to be the end of you gardening season. In the herb garden there are a decently large array of herbs that perform well in cool weather. Some even thrive in mild winter weather, not a brutal hard winter, just mild. If you're fortunate enough to live in a region with mild winters, goody goody. If not there are perrenials that will go dormant but come back again in the spring.

Shaded Herbs

Cool weather annuals can be planted in pots and transported indoors as the weather hardens. {See: Indoor Herb Gardens } Other cool weather herbs can be kept within easy reach, such as outside your kitchen door for easy access when a recipe calls for them. I like to keep a small assortment of cool-weather Autumn herbs outside the kitchen in a single large container. I can pinch off a tad as needed.

Cool Weather and Cold Hardy Herbs suitable for Fall and Mild Winter weather.

Chervil is a somewhat hardy annual. It can be sown in the ground in late summer, or early fall in pots.

Chives are a perennial related to the Lilly, onions and garlic. They do best in Zones 3 to 9. They require very little care other than watering and weeding. Usually you would plant seedlings in the early spring, but they can be planted in early fall as well - Onion or Garlic Chives can be harvested 4-6 weeks after transplanting in temperate zones, in colder regions containers are advisable.

Cilantro - Cold-hardy annual. Cilantro plants actually produce two spices coriander seed and cilantro leaves. Seeds can be sown in early fall to spring only where winters are mild. For best germination, soak seeds in water overnight before sowing. Harvest the coriander seed when it is dry, crumbly and brown. Cilantro leaves can be harvested continuously in the spring and fall as well as winter in hot regions.

Dill is a biennial, which basically means it lives 2 years. It produces attractive yellow-green flowers in both spring and fall. It does best in the spring and again in early fall, it does not produce well during the dog days of summer. For fall plantings, plants should be set out 2 months before the first winter frost date. From seed it takes up to 60 days to reach maturity, so long as it has attained a reasonably mature status come the cold weather it should over winter and come back in the spring. Some mulch wouldn't hurt.

Lavender - There are multiple varieties of lavender many can be planted in early fall in hospitable climates, others will not survive a cold winter. Varieties should be individually researched before planting. [ Lavender Varieties]

Mints are pungent aromatic perennial herbs. Most varieties of mint will spread rampantly. If left unchecked they form a lush ground cover and a net of underground stems. Plant in the spring, or in the fall in frost-free climates.

Parsley can be grown as a perennial in temperate climates for only two seasons, in its second season after flowering the composition of the plant changes and the leaves are no longer palatable. It should be planted in the spring in cool climates , in warmer regions, USDA zones 7 and warmer it should be planted in early Autumn. Winters in warm regions provide excellent growing conditions for parsley. Italian flat leaf parsley is more heat tolerant than curly varieties.

Rosemary is a hardy perennial. It is actually an evergreen that can be grown outdoors successfully in Zones 8 and 9. It is a woody-stemmed plant with needles similar to pine needle.

Sage In USDA zones 5 to 8,sage can be grown outdoors as a perennial. In more humid regions it is usually grown as an annual, it does not tolerate the dog days of summer very well. Set out plants in spring or fall, planting seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart. Choose a sunny spot in well-drained soil. If you have clay soil, add sand and organic matter to lighten up soil and provide better drainage.

Thyme - Plant thyme seed outdoors in a prepared bed in fall for the following season or early spring for the current one. You can also start your seeds indoors in pots or flats. If plants don't survive a hard winter they can be regrown from cuttings. In colder regions it is advisable to provide some form of winter protection for the plants, cold frames or heavy ground cover.