2006-09-28 / News

Enjoy herbs all winter

By Roger Marshall

If you haven't already done it, go into your garden, dig up a parsley plant and transplant it into a large pot. Once it has gotten over the trauma of replanting move it indoors so you can snip a sprig of parsley off when you need it for cooking. Do the same with any outdoor herbs that you use regularly. Oregano doesn't do so well, but you can transplant chives, thyme, rosemary, sage, lemon grass, ginger, and many other herbs to give the cook in your family fresh herbs for most of the winter.

In my experience, trying to grow basil on a window sill doesn't work. The only way I could get basil to grow was to start it under fluorescent lights in my growing chamber and keep it very warm and humid under a grow light. Even then, every time I turned my back it tended to die off. It was a lot less effort to buy some from the grocery store or to make pesto during the summer and freeze it in ice cube trays.

Having a cold frame can also make a big difference in the herbs you can hold over for the winter. Simply set your herbs in the cold frame and mulch them with straw or leaves to keep them going for as long as possible. If you cover them with spun fleece or Reemay, they last a few weeks longer than if you simply leave them in the greenhouse or cold frame.

Your herbs will gradually lose vigor over the winter, especially if you place them near a cold window. But if you locate them under a grow lamp and keep them watered you should be able to pick herbs to flavor home cooked dishes most of the winter.

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