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Perennial Herb Garden

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Perennial Herb Garden

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Overview

Perennial herbs are those that die back in the fall but return without having to replant in the spring. Building a perennial herb garden ensures you will have a crop of herbs year after year with little fuss. Perennial herbs include those used in cooking, medicinal herbs and aromatic herbs.

Location

Location is very important when growing perennial or annual herbs. Consideration must be given to good drainage. Herbs will wither and die if they sit in water all the time. They need to be placed in well-drained soil. A few perennial herbs like partial shade, but most enjoy at least six to eight hours of full sun.

Planting Perennial Herbs

Herbs do not need rich soil because they will grow just about anywhere. They do not need to be fertilized because they tend to grow like weeds. Herb plants should be planted about 6 inches deep and spaced so that another plant of the same kind could be fit into the space. Perennial herbs can be planted in containers and do very well, though they might need a little fertilizer in the beginning of the growing period because they will not get nutrients from the earth.

Cultivation

Perennial herbs require little care. Keep the garden weed-free and water only during extended periods of drought. If the plants seem to be wilting, they might need supplemental water. Most herbs bloom with flowers, which usually reduces the flavor in culinary herbs. Once a plant flowers, it tends to go to seed more quickly and is not viable for cooking. Pinch off any flowers to prevent this from happening. If the plants seem to be getting leggy, stems should be pinched back to promote a fuller plant.

Harvesting Perennial Herbs

Perennial herbs can be harvested about 2 weeks after they have been planted and have a little bit of growth. They can be cut back to half their height at the end of June to July and again in mid-August. The plant will not have enough time to recover before the winter comes if it is cut after late August.

Winter Protection

It is a good idea to protect perennial herbs for the winter to ensure they will come back in the spring. Herbs generally have shallow roots and can be damaged by the cold. Mulch the herb garden with about 4 inches of mulch. Use straw, oak leaves or evergreen branches. Do not remove the mulch until the plants are starting to green up and grow.

Perennial Herbs to Grow

There are many culinary perennial herbs. Chives have an onion flavor and grow in clumps. Oregano is a sprawling plant with little leaves used in Italian dishes. Sage is great for seasoning poultry. It has woody stems with gray hairy leaves. Winter savory (summer savory is an annual) has small, dark green, shiny leaves and looks like an evergreen. Tarragon has narrow twisted leaves and likes to be in a shady area if possible. Thyme grows close to the ground and has tiny oval leaves.

Keywords: perennial herbs, growing herbs, harvesting herbs

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