Herbs have long been a source of delight and frustration for gardeners.
The plants grow wonderfully in the spring, then start to bolt and go to seed as soon as the summer gets going. However, there are herbs for all seasons, ensuring we can have those wonderful, flavorful plants in our gardens all year.
Rose Loveall of Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville, says while the spring is all about basil, there are many culinary and ornamental herbs that will grow in summer, fall and winter. Here are some of her choices.
Mints are the curse plants, Loveall says, because if planted in the ground, they soon take over the entire garden. But grown in containers and not allowed to drape over and touch the ground, they are wonderful garden additions.
Most mints like afternoon shade and regular fertilizer; they also are great for attracting pollinators.
Try strawberry mint, which tastes and smells like strawberries, spearmint for all of your mojito drink needs, and super mint, which doesn’t spread as quickly and thoroughly as other mints.
Capers are an herb that likes full sun, very little water and a lot of abuse. They do not grow in soil, but in rock and rubble. There are two basic types of capers — armed and unarmed, which refers to whether they have thorns or not.
If you want to grow capers for yourself, getting the unarmed kind will be easier on you. If you’re worried about deer eating them, get the armed variety and they will defend themselves.
Fall and winter
Several varieties of oregano do well in the cooler temperatures of autumn and winter. Try Italian, Kent Beauty, Amethyst Falls or Golden oregano.
For taste and aroma, grow lemon verbena or scented geraniums.
Loveall also recommends tasting the flowers on herbs. They all are edible, although some taste much better than others. They add a new dimension to cooking with herbs.
Growing most herbs on mounds to prevent them from getting saturated by water also is a good idea.
Garden tips: Herbs are plants for all seasons