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Herbs: thinking about perennials & self seeding annual/biennials

February 5, 2012

My original front plot consists of 5 beds; four 4’x8′ and one 4’x4′. While I actually managed to produce corn in two of the beds the first year (click the thumbnail below for the ridiculous sight), over the last couple of years I’ve moved most of the real “production” to the more substantial beds in the back areas.

I converted the small bed into a strawberry bed and have for the most part kept the plantings in the rest of these beds to herbs and smaller items.


I have learned that given the right conditions, sage and rosemary can become quite large. Also, self seeding annuals like Thai basil need little encouragement to produce multiple volunteers the following season.

With these “learned lessons”, I am going to try and do two things this year:

1. Transplant the gianormous rosemary bush and the large sage plant to a spot outside of the raised beds. I hope to place the rosemary where I can ungirdle it and let it assume a more natural shape. Note the shape in the previous post; there is a reason it grows upward for a couple of feet prior to assuming the natural open sprawl typical. It has a girdle- actually a wire ring attached to a short channel post that initially “umbrella-ed” the bush into a more upright habit. It actually worked for a little while….

A zoom in around the base of the rosemary “shrub” shows a row of rooted branches outside the bed. I weighed them down with bricks last September and now they are all nicely rooted (as a back up to moving the big one.) Note also the strawberry runners encroaching as well….

2. Allow the self-seeders and smaller perennials to take over their own portion of the beds. With the Thai basil it will be easy; I have no that I will have hundreds of volunteers everywhere in the back; all I need to do is remove them from the areas I don’t want them.

The oregano is in its 4th season and a little pruning back is all it needs each year. It is prone to put down roots wherever it touches the ground and I’ve already rooted a new start against the fence.

Oregano on the left, flat leaf Italian parsley on the right.

Sneaky oregano cutting from last September hiding among the leaf litter, wood chips and dried grass clippings:

The significantly cut back (as of yesterday) Sage and one of it’s cuttings from last September:

(I removed about 2/3 of the plant; the branches to the left are rooted and will be cut, dug up and transplanted to another corner of the yard.)

I’ve cut the sage back like this before and it has rebounded without issue; I think I read somewhere that this isn’t supposed to work. Regardless, the offspring plant is taking off just fine. (I don’t do any cooking with sage; I just like the smell and the flowers are great to attract pollinators to the garden.

The rosemary bed has a good stand of flat leaf parsley (left) and cilantro going:

And that is the entirety of my thoughts on perennials & self seeding annuals/biennials

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2012 8:48 am

    My chives came back year after year… some folks in FW had good luck with dill reseeding itself — I never had any luck with it… and I can’t believe you don’t like sage… try taking whole leaves, frying them in butter until crisp and serving on top of a pasta dish… yummy.

    • February 6, 2012 12:54 pm

      LOL, one could fry old shoelaces in butter until crisp and they’d be good too.

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