Growing Herbs in Autumn

Herbs are a welcome addition to just about any home garden. Imagine having the freshest ingredients within only a few metres from your kitchen — how convenient is that?

Herbs have become popular among Australian gardeners due to the distinctive flavours they can add to dishes. But apart from that, herbs can also be used in the preservation of some foods.

Autumn is the best time to plant perennial herbs like chives, lavender, mint, lemon balm, oregano, thyme and parsley. By planting these herbs during autumn, you can harvest these come springtime. If you wait a little further to plant, you may have to wait until summer for your next harvest.

Herbs require ample sunlight and water, especially during the warmer months. However, you also need to make sure that you provide these plants with sufficient drainage.

These plants thrive in good soil. However, resist the temptation to add too much compost or manure. This will facilitate the fast growth of these plants which can diminish the flavours they can provide. If you are going to plant herbs on pots or containers, make sure that you use a quality potting mix, preferably with water crystals.

Herbs can be brought indoors. Some gardeners do this to extend the season and give their plants protection from pests. However, if you opt for this route, you need to be aware that your herbs will require plenty of artificial sunlight. Ideally, herbs should get at least four hours of natural light. Indoors, the best place for herbs is an area that is cool and bright. If there is no such area inside your home, you can use a high intensity lamp.

You also need to check your herbs and use an insecticidal soap on these if you are bringing these indoors.

Be sure to check the soil of the herbs daily. Water the herbs until the soil has drained fully to the bottom. Some herbs will require deep rooting while others prefer light watering.

Herbs can last anywhere between a month to a full season when brought indoors. Some herbs like chives may lose their leaves while the roots remain alive. If you plant the roots, these will send up green shoots which may be ready for harvest after a month.

Other herbs like basil, dill, and coriander begin to flower around autumn. The seeds of these herbs can be collected and then stored in a cool, dry place, ready to be planted the following spring.

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