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Herbs and Winter

November 5, 2012

Last year I discovered that some basic herbs do quite well in my zone 7 winters; dill and flat leaf parsley struggled a bit during the summer but then took off once the weather cooled.

The same thing is happening this winter, as the offspring of those plants have taken advantage of good soil and ample water. I didn’t plant any of either, in fact I tried to harvest and save as much dill seed as I could but apparently dropped quite a bit in the process.

Year two for this patch of flat leaf Italian parsley is a good one; the flowers attracted all sorts of tiny bees and wasps all summer and then dropped seeds to regenerate the bed. I never thought I would see anything out muscle the oregano (mostly behind it but barely visible to the right of the parsley in this picture) but the parsley is giving it a run for its money.

The volunteer dill is much less “leggy” than it is in warm weather; it has much shorter and many more stems full of aromatic leaves (needles?). I sprinkled a trace amount into the grilled ciabtta/cheddar sandwiches we ate for lunch last Sunday and it provided a subtle touch of dill flavor, just enough to be noticed but no more. You can see a fresh volunteer in the foreground, among the baby arugula surrounding the larger dill plant. Some dill herb bread may be in order this week…

The fine needled rosemary bush by the middle tool shed has taken hold; it was tiny when my daughter’s future in laws gave it to us as a gift 2 or 3 years ago. Remarkably I didn’t kill it (my luck is that this plant would be the one thing I would screw up, but it lives still) and it has grown into a nice sprawling specimen. The branches are less woody, the needles finer and the aroma more subtle than the monster rosemary bush in the front corner. Rosemary makes it through 95% of our winters without damage and IMHO is a nice addition to the shed corner (along with the confederate jasmine vine finally taking hold behind it.)

I’m curious to see how the peppermint does over the winter; I expect it will be relatively hardy and able to survive without much trouble.

I learned something about raspberries when I took the following picture; if a raspberry cane comes withing 2 inches of soil it immediately sends roots half way to China, even vs a rather thick peppermint patch. (I pulled these 5 or 6 rooted canes after taking the picture; I’m afraid that the other 60 or 70 that aren’t in this bed are going to get a good fossil fuel powered mechanical thrashing next spring.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2012 3:10 pm

    I’m very jealous of your dill. I just can’t get it to grow no matter what season I plant. I tried winter and got zilch. Now I’ve got tiny seedlings for spring. Please send over some of your luck!

    • November 7, 2012 6:08 pm

      Giving up helped more than anything. Once I was out of the way nature did a pretty good job….

  2. November 8, 2012 5:34 pm

    Herbs in the winter, dreamy! Beautiful also!

    • November 11, 2012 6:17 pm

      Zone 7 has been quite forgiving for the last 3 winters or so

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