Gardening is a hobby that you can spend a lifetime learning about. Seasons change, seeds fail or thrive, and just when you think you know it all, you realize how much there still is to learn. Direct Energy’s Gardening Series is a follow-along guide to embrace the beauty and challenges involved in being a gardener. As a craft that requires patience, creativity, and endurance, gardening can be enjoyed by those of all ages, and is one of the most satisfying ways to spend an early morning or late afternoon. Follow along as we show you how to begin, which herbs grow the best, and other tips on how to plant a garden that will flourish under your care.
We covered the best vegetables and fruits to grow in the fall season in our last post, but this time around, we show you how to add depth to the flavors of your dishes by adding freshly grown herbs.
Herbs, like any vegetable or fruit, are better when picked and eaten fresh. Their oils are more alive, and even using their stems can infuse our dishes with more depth of flavor.
Much like other plants, flowering shrubs, and edible foods, some herbs are perennial, meaning they grow all year long and survive season after season, whereas others are annuals. Annual herbs will need to be planted each season and are unlikely to survive the winter season.
If your space is limited, growing herbs in pots is a great option, and you can achieve a decent harvest from a very small space.
For those in frigid northern climates, consider adding herbs to your greenhouse if you have one.
In a season full of stews, soups, hot herbal infused breads and steaming herbal baths, you will enjoy everything you plant for months to come. Let’s get your herb garden started now!
An amazing herb to add fresh on a roast chicken, a leg of lamb, or on a platter full of roasted root vegetables, rosemary is one of the most hardy herbs you can grow.
But growing in the cold northern climates can pose a challenge. The one surefire way to kill it is by planting in an area that receives too much water, and isn’t protected from those winter winds.
It doesn’t like its roots to sit in moisture, so plant on a mound if need be, in well-draining soil, and be sure not to over water. Rosemary is one of those plants that when it gets too much water it dies, and there’s no reviving it.
If you do grow it in a pot, be sure it has drainage holes, and water sparingly. It definitely prefers to grow in a clay pot as opposed to plastic.
If you fall sick during the colder months, make a satchel with cheese cloth and place a few branches of rosemary inside, and then into hot water, to ease up congestion.
A hardy and pretty herb to grow, oregano has a beautiful way of mounding and crawling along the ground.
There are dozens of oregano varieties to choose from, and we recommend buying them as seedlings as opposed to trying to grow them this time of year from seed.
Like rosemary, oregano likes its roots to stay dry and enjoys being watered sparingly. It won’t thrive in a boggy environment.
Plant it in an area with full to partial sun, and enjoy it’s fragrance and flavor in homemade salad dressings, on top of pizza and pastas, and sprinkled atop fresh home baked bread.
Oregano is a perennial, so if you plant one and it survives, you can expect it to continue growing throughout the year.
Chives are an easy herb to grow, and are a perennial no matter where you live.
They can safely be planted in the ground to enjoy in the fall, and when they go dormant in the winter months, you’ll find they are one of the first signs in the garden to welcome spring. They grow in clumps, and can be divided when warmer weather hits.
Simply drive a spade into the clump and loosen up the bulbs. Separate and plant in other areas of the garden.
Harvest chives approximately 30 days after you’ve planted them, and before the first expected frost. If you’ve grown them by seed, then expect to harvest them 60 days after planting.
When harvesting, cut them down to the ground leaving 1-2 inches of growth.
The cooler weather signals parsley season in my garden, and I can’t plant enough of it. Curled leaf and Italian varieties are my go to, and I chop it up and put it into my kids’ macaroni and cheese for added vitamin C and K, in my smoothies to keep our immune systems strong, and in every pot of soup that comes off the stove.
It loves nutrient-rich soil, and growing in partial shade.
Grow it from seed to save a few dollars, and also to get it started in the same garden location as it will grow in. Growing from seed also gives you the option to grow heirloom and organic varieties.
If you want a jump start on your parsley, start it inside 10-12 weeks before you intend to transplant it. Keep the seeds watered until they emerge.
Growing thyme is a lovely addition to your fall and winter herb garden, as it grows as a wonderful companion next to tomatoes, potatoes, or anyone from the cabbage family, if you have a fall crop in.
Due to their slow growing nature, it’s recommend to buy them as little plants as opposed to growing them from seed. Much like oregano and rosemary, it likes to be in well-draining soil and in full sun.
Did you know that thyme is an excellent addition to your homemade holiday caramels? Try it!
Savor the season when you can grow fresh cilantro, because it’s so much better than store-bought or dry.
Used in Mexican, Indian and Asian dishes, it transforms within a bath of other flavors and ingredients.
Like parsley, it loves nutrient-rich soil, and enjoys sun to partial shade.
It’s best when grown from seed. Once you see the seedlings emerge, go ahead and split them and plant in other areas of the garden, so their roots can spread and grow stronger.
Cilantro will have a hard time surviving in a hard winter, but in the southern states should do well. When they go to seed, save the seeds for planting next year, or toast them up and crush them to add to rice and curry dishes.