Real Men Sow

My Heroic Herbs

Back in September, I blogged about my little rosemary and thyme plants, and wondered as to whether these young guns would make it through an English winter.

My herb patch is actually in the garden at home, and as well as the thyme and rosemary, contains sage, parsley, chives and mint. Last year, I bought a sage plant, planted rosemary cuttings and sowed the thyme, chive and parsley from seed. I grew them in pots before transplanting them. The mint came from my mum’s garden, and mint being mint, has popped up everywhere.

I’ve not had much luck growing herbs in the past, so was over the moon that the cuttings took and the seedlings were happy in their new surroundings. However, as such fledgling plants, I was really worried that winter might see them off.

The winter of 2010/11 was responsible for the death of a thriving sage plant, as well as my rosemary. The snow was the main perpetrator, assisted by a prolonged period of minus temperatures that we rarely see in this corner of the country.

Good News
Fortunately for my herbs, this winter has been much more accommodating. The mild temperatures and isolated cold snap have been kind to the plants, and I’m pleased to report that all are present and correct. In fact, I’ve used handfuls from all six herb plants whilst cooking already this year, and even better, they all seem to be growing.

My sage has gone nuts, and while the growth of the rosemary, thyme and parsley is much steadier, it is there if you look closely, honest. I have been picking my parsley quite a lot (that translates into decimating the poor thing) which perhaps I shouldn’t have done. Its bare now, but hopefully the pickings will encourage more new shoots.

The herbs occupy a sheltered area in my garden, up against a fence and a bench, but I still think they’ve shown real guts. The heroic efforts of my baby plants when facing up to the winter has left me feeling a great deal of affection for them.

A New Challenge for the Herbs
Therefore, I feel that I can’t leave them there when I move house in the next few weeks, which means a new challenge for the plants. I’m now going to attempt to transplant them again, this time into pots, ready for their new home.

Should they do okay in the pots, good things await them. My new house (more on that later) comes with a greenhouse ( a real deal sealer if there ever was one), which means next winter they can be moved inside when the cold comes. Luxury accommodation compared to their location this winter.

If anyone has got any tips to give the plants a good chance of survival, I’d love to hear them. I might mix some homemade compost in with the multi-purpose stuff when I pot them up, but I don’t want to make the soil too rich.

Fingers crossed…

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  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!April 28, 2012 at 12:02 pmReply

    If rosemary doesn’t make it through your mild (compared to mine) winters, look for the ‘Arp’ variety. It’s quite cold-hardy and will easily survive a z7 winter — z6 with some protection.

    Can’t wait to hear about the greenhouse — I mean new house!

  2. baitdiggerApril 28, 2012 at 10:48 pmReply

    OK quick question I am the art of zen in growing- I do without knowing- snowpeas/sugarsnaps? should I pile the soil up over them untl they are at least 6″or just let them get on with it like I do with every thing else????

  3. Jono

    JonoApril 30, 2012 at 8:48 amReplyAuthor

    Thanks Alan. The new house is exciting – room for growing in my own garden for the first time!

    Hey baitdigger, nice to have you along. Love your blog. I’d leave the to get on with it. Just make sure they get plenty of water as the seedling stage is when they need it most.

  4. carolynMay 11, 2012 at 6:56 pmReply

    I recommend taking cuttings of the rosemary, thyme and sage for security. Abandon the parsley and start over as it is a biennial. Cut the plants back as hard as you dare to the lowest new growth (but not into old wood)and pot in a gritty mix. In their new home make sure they have good drainage. Winter wet can be more damaging than the cold.

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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