Preserving Herbs Through Winter - Knowledgebase Question

jericho, NY
Avatar for katha99204
Question by katha99204
September 19, 1999
We are taking our various herbs out of the ground and putting them into planters for the winter. How do we preserve them until next spring?

Answer from NGA
September 19, 1999
Many herbs such as chives, thyme, sage, bronze fennel, lavender and so on are winter hardy and will survive the winter best left in the ground. Some short-lived herbs such as basil are treated as annuals and allowed to perish with the frost, mainly because they are old and will not last much longer anyway. Biennials such as parsley are generally left in place so that they may grow again next year, set seed, and perpetuate themselves in a little patch. Tropical plants used as herbs such as scented geraniums and lemon verbena can be potted up, trimmed back hard and grown in a sunny windowsill until spring. Occasionally gardeners will dig and pot up (abnd cut back to compensate for roots lost in the process) a few plants of chives or thyme for fresh kitchen use but the plants will be leggy and tasteless when grown indoors on a windowsill compared to the summer harvest -- but still better than store bought! If you are looking at having herbs to use in the kitchen all winter, you might consider harvesting and preserving your herbs throughout the summer since many can be saved by drying or by freezing.

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