Plant Spacing: 12”
Herbs may be either direct-sown outdoors after the threat of frost has passed, or started indoors for transplanting or container gardening. Herbs require moderately rich, well-draining soil with at least 5 hours of bright sunlight. To start indoors: sow lightly in sterilized seed mix, lightly moisten and cover with plastic wrap until germination takes place. Do not water again until sprouts emerge. Remove plastic wrap once sprouted. Transplant outdoors when the threat of frost has passed. Some perennials like Lavender, Catnip or Savory prefer to be started indoors. Others such as Chives, Sage or Fennel prefer to be direct-sown outside once the soil has warmed. Most herbs dislike chemicals or over-fertilization. Feed lightly with kelp or fish emulsion once seedlings are well established. Keep lightly moist: never wet. Pinch back the plants to avoid flowering and to encourage leaf production.
Our Pollinators are in Peril
Friend, Not Foe
Is there an odd-looking caterpillar on your Parsley or some other plant in your garden? Don't douse him with a toxic dust or spray and poison your little Eden! Is he doing any real damage, or just nibbling a leaf here and there? And what will he become: one of the resplendent swallowtail butterflies you've been trying to lure to your flowers? Most caterpillars are relatively harmless in the garden. Plant enough for both them and you, and marvel at their gorgeous diversity. Keep your plants healthy with proper watering and fertile soil. Even the most notorious plant predators, such as aphids, tend to attack plants that are already stressed by poor growing conditions. Rely on your local birds, ladybugs and frogs to keep the bugs in balance. They're better at it and if you make your yard poison-free and hospitable to wildlife, all will thrive.
Herbs That Come in From the Cold
Plenty of perennial cooking herbs, such as Sage and Thyme, survive cold winters. There’s no problem leaving them in the ground, as long as you don’t mind their loss of leaves. But I do. What’s winter without sprigs of Thyme inside the roast chicken, or Sage in skillet-fried cheese sandwiches? These plants must spend the winter in pots in a sunny window not far from the kitchen. Certain tender herbs must share the space too. A pot of bay for seasoning those fortifying soups and stews. Rosemary to sprinkle on roasted Carrots. Tarragon and Chives come indoors too, after a few freezes~those are needed to trigger new growth. I bring in small plants, not ones that have become old and woody, and give them a light, not-too-rich potting soil. I set them on a tray of pebbles to make watering easier and to help humidify the dry winter air. (Even Mediterranean plants need winter moisture.) I feed them once a month with fish emulsion, then biweekly when the longer days of February begin, and a fresh new burst of foliage signals winter’s end. Everyone looks forward to the warm weather that spring brings, especially gardeners who are itching for the soil to warm up, dry out and be ready to receive their treasured seeds. While you may not be able to hurry up spring, there are several things you can do to meet it halfway. First, choose the right place to plant. If you live in a cold area, notice where snow first melts in your yard. Unless leafy trees will eventually shade it, this is the spot. And if the area slopes a bit to the south, all the better. Tilting the garden toward the sun will raise the temperature of the soil several degrees - you might even use a French technique called "ados" beds, where the soil is sloped up against a board on the north side, making the bed tilt sunward. Creating a windbreak, whether it's one you plant or one you build, will have the same effect, because reducing the wind-chill effect in your garden will help it to warm up. Finally, try laying strips of clear plastic on the soil to warm it. Remove them to plant your seeds, then put them back on and wait for the seeds to bump ground. The minute they emerge, take the plastic off for good. You'll be up and running in no time.