The Poconos Mountains, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, are a vacation destination for many. The area includes resorts, golf courses and more than 150 lakes. It covers four counties and three hardiness zones ranging from 4 through 6. Successful gardeners know their micro climate and plant accordingly. Most herbs are perennials in warm winter areas but are treated as annuals in Pennsylvania.
Start the herb seeds by the end of March. They should be ready to set out right after the last frost in May, which is usually between May 15 and June 1. Plant the seeds in fresh potting soil, three seeds per pot. Keep the seeds well watered in a warm, sunny window. Thin to the strongest seedling. Put the seedlings outside for longer and longer periods each day to harden them off.
Dig up the garden soil and add compost. Most herbs don't require any special amendments, but adding compost is always a good idea. The herb bed should be located in a sunny spot.
Plant the herbs. Plant tall herbs or bushy herbs such as dill, fennel, lavender and lemon balm, 24 inches apart. Plant basil, parsley, coriander and sage 12 inches apart. Place low-growing herbs such as oregano, thyme and tarragon around the edges of the herb border.
Cover the herb seedlings with glass jars or plastic glasses if frost is forecasted. Even a light frost will kill herbs such as basil. In the Poconos, frost can occur through the first two weeks of June.
Water if there isn't at least 1 inch of rainfall per week; this shouldn't be necessary very often in the Poconos unless there is a drought situation.
Harvest the herbs to keep them compact and bushy.
Dig up herb plants about four weeks before the average date of the first frost in fall, which can range from Labor Day weekend to October 1. Pot the herbs and bring them inside to spend the fall and winter in a sunny window.