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Summer is on the way out but you don’t need to wait til the weather warms up again to start planting an herb garden. A lot of people don’t know that you can still plant herbs in the fall, even as the temperature drops and winter approaches. Today I will share with you some fall herb gardening tips as well as the best herbs to plant in fall.
10 tips for planting fall herb gardens
To successfully grow a cool weather herb garden, you need to know the best herbs to plant in fall, however, you also need to know how to care for a fall herb garden. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Know your hardiness zone and plant accordingly.
This is crucial for any type of plant, but especially herbs. Make sure to choose plants that will be able to withstand the colder temperatures of fall and winter in your area.
2. Plant in well-drained soil.
Fall is typically a wetter time of year, so it’s important to make sure your herbs are planted in soil that will drain well. Otherwise, they could end up sitting in water, which will lead to root rot.
3. Consider planting in raised beds or containers.
Fall is typically wetter than summer. That means you need to consider drainage problems. Planting in raised beds or containers can help with drainage issues and also make it easier to protect your plants from heavy rains or snow.
4. Choose plants that are tolerant of cold weather.
Some herbs, like rosemary and thyme, are actually quite tolerant of cooler temperatures. Others, like basil, will need a little more protection from the cold. For more information, read my post on cold tolerant herbs.
5. Be sure to water regularly.
Even though it’s cooler out, your plants will still need to be watered on a regular basis. Check the soil before watering to make sure it’s not already moist.
6. Fertilize regularly.
While you will want to plant fall herbs in good, nutrient-rich soil, they will still need to be fertilized occasionally. In fact, fall is a great time to fertilize your herbs, as they will benefit from the extra nutrients as they prepare for winter.
With any luck, maybe a few will survive the cold temps and come back strong again in the spring. My parsley overwinters every year, which I am very thankful for!
7. Protect from frost.
If you are expecting a frost in your area, be sure to take steps to protect your fall herbs. You can use a frost blanket or move them indoors if necessary. If your region has mild winters, you may not have to worry too much about this.
8. Mulch around your plants.
This will help to insulate the roots of your herb plants and keep the soil warmer. Mulch can be anything from pine bark to fallen leaves, depending on the size of your garden and your finances.
9. Prune regularly.
Fall is a great time to prune your plants, as it can help them to stay healthy and vigorous. You won’t have long before the weather turns too cold for much growth to occur.
10. Check for pests and diseases.
As with any plant, it’s important to check your growing herbs regularly for pests and diseases. Take action immediately if you see anything suspicious.
Following these tips will help you to successfully grow herbs in the fall. Most of my favorite fall herbs are actually culinary herbs so those are the ones I will list below for you to plant in your fall herb garden.
Best herbs for fall herb gardens
The herbs you plant in the fall will partially depend on your growing region. You will have a much harder time growing fall herbs in Alaska than you will in Florida.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you have other veggies left from your summer garden, you will need to find a new place to put other plants.
I have found that my yard offers loads of places to stick just one or two herbs. A small raised bed here, window boxes, a pot by the kitchen door, or any stray container with well draining soil.
Get creative! Annual herbs will only be around for one season, so those can go just about anywhere. Many perennial herbs take up a bit more space so will need to be thoughtfully worked into the landscaping with that in mind.
Here are a few fall herbs to consider planting in late summer.
1. Rosemary grows really well in the fall herb garden
Rosemary is one of the easiest herbs to grow because I have yet to find a single pest or disease that actually bothers it.
It is a semi woody perennial evergreen herb that has a strong, pungent flavor. I find it goes wonderfully in just about any dish containing potatoes.
It grows well in the fall because the cooler temperatures help to bring out its flavor.
When growing rosemary in the fall, it’s important to plant it in full sun. Rosemary needs at least six hours of sunlight per day.
It’s also important to water it regularly. Rosemary is a drought-tolerant plant, but it will produce more flavor if it’s given enough water.
To harvest rosemary, cut off the stems and run your hands down the woody stem to remove the pine needle-like leaves. I find it works best to go against the direction of growth.
You can use fresh rosemary in soups, stews, and sauces. You can also dry it or freeze it for later use. Rosemary also has several health benefits. It is thought to boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.
2. Plant lots of thyme in your fall garden
Thyme is a versatile herb that can be used in soups, stews, meat dishes, and more. Plus, it’s easy to grow!
All you need is a sunny spot in your garden and some well-drained soil. Fall is the perfect time to start growing thyme, as the cooler temperatures help the plant to develop a deeper flavor.
To get started, simply sow some thyme seeds in your garden bed or pot. Then, water regularly and wait for your thyme to grow. In no time at all, you’ll have fresh thyme to enjoy all winter long!
If planting herb seeds isn’t your cup of tea, I find thyme plants regularly at my local nursery.
3. Sage is one of the best herbs for autumn
Sage is a perennial herb that is easy to grow and maintain. In the fall, sage plants will produce small, blue flowers. The flowers are edible and make a beautiful garnish for salads or hors d’oeuvres.
The great thing about perennial herbs is that you plant them once and harvest them for years. I have sage in my backyard that is about 5 years old now. Less work for more bounty from your herb garden!
When harvesting sage, cut the stems just below the leaves. Be sure to use fresh sage within a few days of harvest for the best flavor.
Dried sage can be stored in an airtight container for up to six months. To dry sage, tie the stems together and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place.
Once the leaves are completely dry, remove them from the stems and crumble them into small pieces.
Store the crumbled leaves in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Sage is a versatile herb that can be used in many different dishes. Try adding it to roasted chicken or turkey, stuffings, soups, or sauces. It also pairs well with other fall favorites like squash, sweet potatoes, and apples.
With its delicate flavor and pretty flowers, growing sage in the fall is a great way to add some extra flair to your cooking.
4. Oregano is a versatile fall perennial herb
If you are looking for more perennial herbs to grow, definitely consider oregano. Oregano comes back year after year and it’s also relatively easy to grow.
When planting oregano, make sure to choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Oregano can be planted directly in the ground or started in pots indoors and then transplanted outside. They grow well in vertical gardens since they love to spread. Check out my post on vertical gardening for more information.
If you’re starting oregano from seed, it’s best to sow the seeds indoors about six weeks before you want to plant it.
Once the plants have grown big enough to handle, transplant them into the garden.
Oregano does not like to be too wet, so make sure to water it only when the soil is dry. If you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll need to protect your oregano plants from frost by covering them with a light layer of mulch.
With a little care, you can enjoy fresh oregano all autumn long.
5. Parsley is one of the best herbs to grow in fall
Parsley is a hardy herb that can tolerate cooler temperatures, making it a perfect choice for fall planting.
It is also relatively easy to grow, and it can be started from seed or transplanted from an existing plant.
When starting from seed, be sure to plant the seeds indoors for about six weeks before you want to transplant them into the garden.
Once the seedlings have emerged, you can then transplant them into your garden bed or pots.
If you are transplanting, be sure to choose a location that gets partial sun and has well-drained soil.
With proper care, your parsley plants will thrive and provide you with an abundance of fresh herbs all season long.
I have found that after I plant parsley, it will overwinter the first year, start growing quickly in early spring, then flower the following summer. Georgia has a mild winter, however, so your experience may vary.
Parsley is very good for digestion so sprinkle a few leaves on everything you eat!
6. Plant chives for loads of fall herb harvests
Chives are a type of onion, and they have a milder flavor than other onions.
They’re also rich in vitamins A and C, which makes them a healthy addition to your diet.
Fall is the perfect time to plant chives, because the cooler temperatures help to prevent them from bolting, or going to seed.
When planting chives, be sure to choose a sunny spot in your garden.
Chives require at least six hours of sunlight per day. They also prefer well-drained soil, so if your soil is heavy or clay-like, you may need to amend it before planting.
Once you’ve chosen a spot and prepared the soil, simply plant the chive bulbs about two inches apart.
Chives are easy to care for and don’t require much attention. Water them regularly, and fertilize them once or twice during the growing season.
You can begin harvesting chives after they’ve been growing for about six weeks. Simply snip off the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors.
Add chives to soups, salads, omelets, and other dishes for a burst of flavor. Growing chives in the fall is a great way to add flavor to your dishes while getting some extra nutrients into your diet.
7. Mint is an easy-to-grow herb for cool weather gardening
Mint is a versatile herb that can be used in everything from cocktails to desserts. or even an easy mint sugar scrub! Plus, it’s easy to grow and doesn’t require much care.
If you’re thinking about adding mint to your fall garden, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Mint is a hardy plant that can tolerate cold weather, so it’s a good choice for growers in cooler climates. However, mint does prefer moist soil, so be sure to water it regularly.
Mint also spreads quickly, so it’s important to give it plenty of space to grow.
When planting mint, dig a hole that’s twice the width of the pot and disk the soil around the plant.
If you’re looking for a specific type of mint to grow, peppermint and spearmint are two of the most popular varieties.
Peppermint has a strong, refreshing flavor that’s perfect for making teas and desserts, while spearmint has a milder taste that’s ideal for savory dishes.
No matter what type of mint you choose, you’re sure to add some extra flavor to your fall recipes.
8. Cilantro is one of my favorite fall herbs to grow
Growing cilantro in the fall can be a great way to add some flavor to your dishes.
This delicious herb is easy to grow and can be used in a variety of recipes. Best of all, it doesn’t take long to mature, so you can enjoy fresh cilantro all season long.
If you’re interested in growing cilantro this fall, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, cilantro prefers cooler weather, so it’s best to plant them in late summer or early fall.
Second, they require moist soil, so be sure to water them regularly.
Third, cilantro will self-seed, so you may want to thin out your plants every once in a while to prevent them from getting too crowded.
Finally, harvest your cilantro when the leaves are bright green and before the flowers bloom. With a little care, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh cilantro all season long!
9. Plant dill in your fall herb garden
Dill is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of ways, from pickling to making sauces.
Plus, it’s easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance. If you’re interested in adding dill to your fall garden, here are a few tips to get you started.
First, make sure you choose the right type of dill for your climate. If you live in a warm climate, you’ll want to plant heat-tolerant varieties like ‘Fernleaf’ or ‘Mammoth.’
In cooler climates, try ‘Bouquet’ or ‘Long Island Improved.’
Once you’ve chosen your variety, it’s time to prepare your soil. Dill prefers well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If your soil is too sandy or clay-like, add some organic matter to help improve drainage.
When it comes to planting, dill can be tricky. The seeds need light to germinate, so don’t plant them too deep.
You can either sow the seeds directly into the ground or start them indoors and transplant them later. If you start them indoors, sow the seeds about six weeks before you want to plant them.
Once they’ve germinated, thin the seedlings so that they’re spaced about 12 inches apart.
When transplanting seedlings outdoors, make sure to harden them off first by gradually acclimating them to the outdoors over a period of seven to 10 days.
Once your dill is planted, water it regularly and fertilize it every few weeks.
Dill is an annual herb, so it will only last one growing season. However, you can extend its life by cutting back the plants before they flower.
This will promote new growth and prevent the plants from going to seed.
When properly cared for, dill will provide you with flavorful leaves all fall long.
10. Can you plant basil in the fall? YES!
Growing basil in the fall can be a challenge, as the plant does best in warm, sunny weather. However, with a little care and attention, it is possible to successfully grow basil during this cooler season.
One key to success is to choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight.
Another important factor is to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. When watering basil, be sure to avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can encourage fungal growth.
Finally, it is important to fertilize regularly, as this will help the plant to produce more leaves. With a little effort, it is possible to enjoy fresh basil even during the fall season.
Don’t let your basil go to waste once it starts growing. Read my post on how to dry basil leaves for some preservation tips.
11. Where does marjoram grow best?
Growing marjoram in the fall may seem like a daunting task, but with a little planning, it can be a fun and rewarding experience.
The first step is to choose a sunny spot in your garden where the soil is well-drained. Marjoram prefers mildly acidic soil, so if your soil is alkaline you may need to amend it with some peat moss or compost.
Once you’ve chosen your planting site, you’ll need to prepare the soil by loosening it with a spade or tiller. This will help the roots establish themselves more easily.
Once the soil is ready, you can sow your seeds or transplant young plants. Water regularly and fertilize monthly to ensure healthy growth.
With a little care, you can enjoy fresh marjoram all season long!
12. Growing lavender in the garden
Growing lavender in the fall is a great way to add color and fragrance to your garden.
Lavender is a hardy herb that can withstand cooler temperatures, making it a perfect choice for autumn planting.
The key to success is to choose a variety of lavender that is suited to your climate. English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a good option for cooler regions, while French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) thrives in warmer climates.
If you want to cook with it, English lavender is a better choice since it is a more mild flavor. It is perfect for lavender sugar and lavender tea.
To get started, simply select a sunny spot in your garden and prepare the soil by adding some organic compost.
Then, plant your lavender plants 18-24 inches apart. Water regularly and mulch around the plants to help protect them from cold weather.
With a little care, you’ll soon have a beautiful lavender hedge that will bloom throughout the fall season. Read my post about growing lavender from seed for a few tips to get you started.
14. How to grow lemon balm in the fall
Lemon balm is a perennial herb that is incredibly versatile. It tolerates cooler temperatures well, making it a perfect choice for fall planting.
To get started, choose a sunny spot in your garden with well draining soil and loosen the soil with a spade or tiller.
Lemon balm prefers slightly acidic soil, so if your soil is alkaline you may need to amend it with some peat moss or compost.
Once the soil is ready, you can sow your seeds or transplant young plants. Water regularly and fertilize monthly to ensure healthy growth.
If you plant in fall, lemon balm will still be fairly small once the cold weather hits, however, if you plant in full sun, it will come back in the spring.
Some final thoughts on fall herb gardening.
While growing herbs in the fall may not be as easy as summer herb gardening, it’s a great way to extend the growing season. With a little preparation and care, you can successfully grow a variety of herbs that will add flavor and fragrance to your garden all season long.
Don’t forget to plan ahead for harvesting and storing your fresh herbs. Here are a few supplies you might want to invest in to successfully preserve your fall herbs:
- –Airtight food storage containers (jars, bags, or plastic containers)
- –Herb drying racks or screens
- -Dehydrator (optional but we have the Cosori food dehydrator and love it)
- –Reusable freezer bags or containers (for freezing herbs in water or oil)
With a little planning and effort, you can enjoy fresh herbs all autumn long! If you aren’t sure how to get started, check out my post about herb gardening tips for beginners.