Planting my annual herbs in my over-sized terracotta pots today sparked my mind to all the reasons I had chosen to raise my herbs in this manner a year ago. Initially, I simply wanted an herb garden I could move indoors in the winter and reap the benefits of my work year-round. I mean, who doesn’t prefer fresh herbs? As I began reading my farming and homesteading books, I quickly realized there were several other advantages.
The first thing I discovered was the dominant personality of mint. Thank goodness I had planted that one in a pot y’all. It apparently has an insane ability to grow… and grow… and grow… until it has taken over an entire bed (or yard) if not constantly put in check. Talk about a pain in the butt!
Given the fact that we have been living with my parents this past year and the resultant lack of “extra” space prevented me from moving my herbs into the house for the winter. So imagine my joy when I discovered that some herbs are perennials and I would not need to move them indoors to have them return the following year. Some of these include:
Now some of these herbs are reported to be “tender” perennials, such as Rosemary and Marjoram. “Tender” meaning they need warmer and/or milder winters to return the following year. However, as a precaution, I decided to move all my terra-cotta pots into the greenhouse for the winter to give them the greatest chance of survival.
I personally didn’t grow Marjoram last year and I never got more than a short sprig of my Rosemary to grow so I cannot attest to how well they return. However, wintering over my terra cotta herb garden in our greenhouse, I found some of the above to have done well and some to have done poorly.
The mint, tarragon, summer savory,chives and thyme all wintered over phenomenally. In fact, when we went to start seeds in early spring, the tarragon was already about 6 inches tall y’all! The mint had a few green leaves on it, and the chives several green sprigs at the time, but I was fairly certain the thyme and summer savory would have to be restarted. But My mother and I kept watering and monitoring and soon we found a few green shoots arising from the dead tangles. So, lesson learned, don’t give up on your perennials too soon folks.
Since Sage is woody and appears to be a more hardy herb I had assumed it would do well, but it did not come back as I had hoped. As for the oregano, I had a difficult time getting it to grow last year (though once it got a start it was proliferative) so I was none too surprised when it was determined to remain a dead mass of leaves.
So I had to reseed both sage and oregano in addition to my favorite annuals: cilantro, parsley, basil and dill. Regardless, I’ve learned something I didn’t know before and will be able to add that information to my homestead journal for future trial and error.
For anyone with a hankering to grow, I highly recommend starting off with an herb garden. Even in the city you can grow one indoors in small pots with saucers. Those I’ve found to be easiest to start and grow indoors are: basil, thyme, cilantro and parsley.
I don’t know about you, but I love me some seasonings and I’m so excited to move my herbs back to our sidewalk. I’m so excited to, once again, have easy access to fresh herbs all summer long.