In the last Halcyon Acres® blog post, we explored some growing tips, tricks and discoveries concerning thyme, basil, sage and oregano. Click on the link to see some of the easy growing tips for perennial herbs addressed.
Parsley is a biennial. You don’t want to eat the leaves that are produced in the second year (they’re very bitter), but if you want an easy way to keep the crop coming year after year, leave last year’s plants in and reseed in spring. Once these plants go to seed (in the second year), they’re pretty good at self-propagation. So, if you plant two seasons in a row, you should always have new parsley plants coming in the spring without much effort. Another benefit we noticed this year to keeping plants in the soil after the season ends for most is the leaves continue to stay green and tasty even in extreme cold under heavy snow. Just make sure you mark your rows with flags high enough to see once snow falls. Parsley has some wonderful health benefits being rich in vitamin A, C and K. It’s a great antioxidant and good anti-inflammatory. Plus it provides a tasty, mild flavor to so many foods.
Dill is so much fun. It’s pungent flavor and prolific leaves makes a little go a long way. This is a plant that’s easy to start from seed. In fact, if you leave it in the garden through the fall, you’ll have a good self-seeded crop come spring. This is an annual, but easy to keep going year after year if you let nature take its course. Dill is a tough one to get started in the garden in the spring if you haven’t let it self-sow. It’s slow to germinate and weeds tend to choke out new plantings (at least around here). If you’re starting your first dill crop, it’s probably best to begin in containers.
Lavender is a perennial, but making it through the winter is pretty iffy in Zone 5. Frankly, we were too aggressive with weeding this spring (it comes up late and should be planted initially in warm weather) to know if last year’s crop made it (oopps – the lavender roots were too deep in the pile to find by the time I realized where I was in the garden). This is just such a wonderful, versatile herb, though, it’s worth planting each year if it doesn’t make it. Start seeds inside. Keep them warm and moist.
Rosemary is so much better fresh, it’s an herb you ought to consider including in the mix. Last year was the first try with this one, so I’m not sure if it will survive the cold winter. We didn’t have a lot of luck trying to start this from seed indoors, so wound up buying plants in the spring.
Cilantro is super easy to grow. You can just cast seeds in the garden and it will come up in almost any harsh conditions. The pungent smell wafts through the entire garden. Needless to say, it also serves as a great insect repellent to for the more sensitive companion plants you may be trying to protect. It tend to bolt in hot, dry weather, but you can also use it after it’s gone to seed.
Those are my favorites (at the moment any way). What are yours? Please share in the comments below.