Hints for Herbs
Tips for planting, harvesting, preserving, and cooking
Fresh herbs give dishes maximum flavor and our kitchens a welcoming scent. The Charlotte Herb Guild meets every month to share knowledge about herbs and their uses. As the season changes, we spoke with Holly Jeffries, who's been a guild member for 10 years, for a few basic tips.
Time to plant.
Jeffries: Fall is a great time to plant herbs in the garden. The weather in North Carolina is cooling down, and the lower humidity makes gardeners want to get out in the dirt. Perennial herbs are best planted in the fall. This allows the plant to develop a good root system that gives it a head start in the spring. Although garden centers typically have more plants in the spring, gardeners are buying more plants in the fall, so garden centers are carrying more. Herbs to plant in the fall in the Piedmont are lavender, oregano, mints, rosemary, parsley, chives, and garlic.
Jeffries: I have found that my herbs do best in clay soil amended with compost. Herbs need a bed depth or container depth between 12 to 18 inches. I have found that my thyme, scented geraniums, and savories do much better in clay pots rather than plastic. The reason for this is that the roots can dry out before the next watering.
Jeffries: The best time to harvest herbs is in the late morning. The dew has been dried by the morning sun, and the oils inside the plant are at their peak. Clean and rinse the leaves. To dry, hang them or put them on paper plates on top of your refrigerator. The warmth helps them dry without mildew.
Jeffries: Fall planting of herbs adds a freshness to any garden in the Piedmont. Mixed with fall colors, the green herbs will look spectacular now and in early spring.
Check out a few of our favorite recipes from Charlotte Home + Garden that incorporate fresh herbs.
* Chocolate Rosemary Tart (Photo by Logan Cyrus)
* Coriander Mint Tea and Peppermint Raspberry Tea
*Vegan Panzanella (with garlic, oregano, parsley, and basil)