After many months of admiring my first herb garden, the temperature has finally dipped too low to leave them outside anymore. So I needed to pull out my green thumb, for typing that is. I had no idea what to do, so to the Internet I went. Thank you Google!
Right now all I have is two types of basil, cuban oregano and mint. First I researched which herbs were perennials and what ‘zone’ they could survive outside in (see below). Since my mint is a perennial and can live in Zone 5 I can leave it outside for the winter and it’ll come back in spring. As for my basils, they grow as annuals so I will just replant them in the spring. Lastly, since I have cuban oregano as opposed to regular oregano, it will not survive the cold of our winters. Since it’s a beautiful house plant as well, I am bringing it inside with me for a winter sleepover. Here is an easy guideline to follow:
What Not To Bring Indoors
Perhaps you love all the herbs in your garden equally, and you’d like to bring them all indoors. I suggest you don’t, even if you have a huge house with dozens of south-facing windows.
- First of all, forget about the annuals, such as summer savory, chervil, cilantro, parsley and dill. Their lives are about over. I include basil in this group because it’s usually grown as an annual, even though it’s technically a short-lived tender perennial.
- Don’t bother bringing in perennial herbs if you have enough of it saved and dried. Such as sage, mint and thyme — unless you think you can’t manage without the fresh leaves over winter.
- Lastly, turn your back on diseased or pest-ridden plants. Even plants that are healthy now can easily become infested with aphids in an indoor atmosphere.
- Zone 1: below -46 C (below -50 F)
- Zone 2: -46 to -40 C (-50 to -40 F)
- Zone 3: -40 to -34 C (-40 to -30 F)
- Zone 4: -34 to -29 C (-30 to -20 F)
- Zone 5: -29 to -23 C (-20 to -10 F)
- Zone 6: -23 to -18 C (-10 to 0 F)
- Zone 7: -18 to -12 C (0 to 10 F)
- Zone 8: -12 to -7 C (10 to 20 F)
- Zone 9: -7 to -1 C (20 to 30 F)
- Zone 10: -1 to 4 C (30 to 40 F)
- Zone 11: above 4 C (above 40 F)
I have been been picking and drying all my herbs for weeks and weeks now because they wouldn’t stop growing. Particularily, now that I have decided to leave my mint outside for the winter, I want to stock up on as much of it now as I can. I chose to dry it since it will make a great tea in the winter. Some people dry herbs by hanging them in a bunch upside down. I personally don’t do this because when it’s time to take the leaves off the stem it all crumbles. So I picked and seperated the stems from the leaves FIRST and then laid them on a screen to dry. You don’t need any fancy dehydrators. I simply used an old window screen like this:
Drying herbs is great for teas and cooking but sometimes the fresher taste is best. Since I still want to make mojitos in the winter (don’t judge..haha) I couldn’t use dried mint…. Ewww. So I chose to freeze it. All I did was finely chop up the fresh mint, place it in an ice cube tray, top with a little water and freeze it. Once it was frozen, I emptied the cubes into a labeled ziplock bag and now I have perfect portions of fresh herbs. Now I can just take out an ice cube in the winter, let it melt and i’ll have fresh herbs to cook with. Not to mention mint ice cubes for winter mojitos.
Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson