SPICE UP YOUR LIFE THIS FALL WITH A KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

by Master Gardener Barbara Porsch – Herb Enthusiast

Hopefully the dog days of summer are dwindling down and fall will be in the air soon.  There are many herbs that love the cooler weather and can be planted now and can be grown through the winter.  If you have a bright sunny window you can have a kitchen herb garden.   It is so handy to pinch off a leaf here and there to flavor your food.

If you don’t have the requisite  bright sunny window, these herbs can be grown outside in a warm sunny bed.  For convenience, it is great to be close to the kitchen door, but if I want some parsley or sage to liven up a recipe, I don’t mind the trek across the yard.

The most popular herbs to grow in a window and easiest to have outside are parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.    I ought to write a song about that.  Oh wait!  It has already been done.  All of these herbs will winter very well here. Parsley especially will reseed and try to take over a garden space.    Flat leaf parsley has better flavor than the old fashioned curley variety that everybody used to only decorate a plate with.  It also reseeds better.

A six inch (minimum size) pot for each plant would be adequate for a window garden.  Put a paper coffee filter in the bottom and fill with a good quality potting soil.  After planting the small herb, water it in well but after that, only water when the soil feels dry.  Too much water will do them in.  Especially the rosemary doesn’t want wet feet.  A dilute fertilizer occasionally will promote good growth.    If they start looking yellow, they have probably had too much water.

Another herb that you could try both inside and out is chives.  When using chives, don’t just give it a butch haircut to get some, go down toward the base and cut a few stems and then chop them up.  If you cut the tips, they won’t continue growing and will just look brown and bad. Also, cutting at the base encourages new growth.    Oregano could also be available now and would be a good choice.  Cilantro is also another cool weather herb.

Especially remember to use them.  The more you pinch off, the better they will grow.   If they don’t survive, don’t fret.  Just go get another one. There are so many uses for these basic herbs it would be impossible to list them all. When winter is over, they are best planted outside.

The Permian Basin Master Gardeners will present a program on growing and using herbs, complete with suggestions and recipes.  It will be held on Tuesday September 18 evening (6 to 9) and the same class will be repeated on Wednesday September 19 morning (9 to 12).  It will be held at the West Texas Food Bank , 411 Pagewood in Odessa.    Registration is necessary.  Please go to westtexasgardening.org to register and reserve your seat.

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