Grow Herbs in Containers for the Winter

comments (5) September 13th, 2009

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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Larger pots allow you to add several plants. Try the same plant but in different varieties such as basil and cinnamon basil or a lemon thyme and wooly thyme.
 
Photo by Art Aspirations under the Creative Commons License 2.0.
Use your imagination when thinking about containers.
 
Photo by Tristan F under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Larger pots allow you to add several plants. Try the same plant but in different varieties such as basil and cinnamon basil or a lemon thyme and wooly thyme.
 
Photo by Art Aspirations under the Creative Commons License 2.0.Click To Enlarge

Larger pots allow you to add several plants. Try the same plant but in different varieties such as basil and cinnamon basil or a lemon thyme and wooly thyme.

 

Photo by Art Aspirations under the Creative Commons License 2.0.


Fall is the time of year that I start getting concerned for my basil. I'm pretty lousy at calculating how much longer I'll be able to harvest before the frost nails it. Mother Nature has her own calendar no matter where we mark our frost dates.

So, in the fall I set up a special area under the overhang on our back porch. I plant my favorite herbs and some cool weather flowers in pots varying from very large to rather small (6"). I plant parsely, basil, thyme, rosemary, terragon,and chives.

Herbs are especially suited for containers although they will appreciate a little treat every once in a while in the form of fertilizer. If your potting mix is high in organic matter, you won't have to add much, but if you can get your hands on some worm castings it would be the ultimate vitamin for any container-grown plant.

My porch gets all day sun yet the overhang protects the plants from the type of cold snap that would cut them off at the knees. Some of these plants won't make it the entire winter, but I'm okay with that. Surprisingly many of these herbs actually do survive it since I live in a fairly mild-winter area lows are 50s - 60s in the day with 30s overnight.

California's pitiful winter display may make you laugh but I swear to you we even see snow. My point is that no matter what zone you live in, by creating a small kitchen garden in pots under a covered porch you can have fresh herbs longer than if you hadn't. Closer to Christmas time when the temps really dip, I bring as many as a can indoors into a sunny window. I'm nothing if not a die-hard.

If you can't find any small herbs still available for purchase locally, take a few cuttings from the plants you already have growing in your garden. For instance, it's especially easy to propagate basil from cuttings. If you don't have many herbs already growing, ask for some slips (cuttings) from your neighbors or friends. Fall is a great time to try your hand at indoor gardening.

Read more about growing herbs...


posted in: indoor gardening, herbs in containers, winter herbs

Comments (5)

outlandesh writes: My rosemary plant has been living outside year round for 7 years. In Boise Id. winter lows of -10F to -15 are normal.

I think its sucess ( it is now over 4' tall,and yes it is definitely a rosemary) might have some thing to do with where it is planted and what is planted in. I have never had much luck with rosemary before.

It is on a south facing slope up against the side of the house in full sun with a big black rock on one side and some short steps on the other so it is pretty well protected and very well drained.It is planted in graveley sand with a little bit to dirt. No organic material except some mulch when I first planted it and no fertalizer ever.

My theory is it is not the cold so much that kills as the moisture and the roots experiancing freeze and thaw.

The plant stays green all year round so I can still harvest from it in Jan.
Posted: 4:30 pm on September 28th
Dara writes: I bring my rosemary in from the summer and put it in a smaller pot of compost and I keep it in my kitchen window which faces north which is not much sun but I think the trick is to keep it evenly moist as I do when it is outside.
I have had some plants like this for many seasons, bringing them back ot in the spring. I live in zone 5.
Posted: 9:32 pm on September 22nd
ImOrkidl8dy writes: I take the basil stems from fresh packaged basil from the produce section, use the leaves in my recipe and then plant the stems in potting soil. They start growing pretty quickly!
Posted: 7:27 pm on September 22nd
Denisey writes: What I would like to know is how to grow rosemary over the winter. I have tried it in the house, I have tried it in my greenhouse! Someone have any successful tricks to pass on?


Posted: 2:44 pm on September 21st
JadaE writes: I never thought to take cuttings from my big basil plant! Hubby uses it in everything, so an indoor plant would be nice this winter.... :)
Posted: 2:14 pm on September 14th
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