Home' The Mirror Queenstown Lakes : June 19th 2013 Contents 19.6.13
with Jane Wrigglesworth
Many perennial herbs and some annuals are winter hardy and can be
harvested for salads or flavoursome dishes. A few tasks carried out now will
keep them growing successfully over the cooler months.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
While basil is a warm-season
annual you can sow seeds in a
warm spot indoors and harvest as
microgreens for salads and other
Bay (Laurus nobilis)
Bay trees are generally hardy to -5
degree Celsius, but hard frosts
and freezing winds can cause
leaves to turn brown. Bring plants
indoors in cold areas or use frost
cloth. Any leaf damage can be
pruned out in spring.
Borage (Borago officinalis)
In cool areas borage will die back
in winter. In warm or sheltered
spots it will continue to grow.
Harvest leaves and flowers for
Caraway (Carum carvi)
Caraway is a hardy biennial.
Unless winters are severe, plants
don't need protection. Keep the
beds well weeded. It can be
difficult to distinguish between a
weed and a young caraway plant.
Chervil is a hardy annual that
grows best in the cooler months of
autumn and spring. If seeds were
sown in autumn, a cloche or
tunnel house can extend your
harvesting into winter.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
To force the roots of chicory to
produce chicons (tightly cupped
heads of pale leaves), dig up plants
in early winter, cut back leaves to
just above the crown (leaving
about 2.5cm of growth), and
replant in a container of loamy
soil with the crowns of the roots
just below soil level. You can grow
3-4 roots in a 22cm diametre pot.
Cover the pot to exclude light, as it
will make chicons bitter. An
upturned black bucket works
well, but make sure there are no
drainage holes in it. Place
container in a warm spot where
the temperature does not dip
below 10C. Keep soil damp but not
wet. In 4-6 weeks the chicons will
be 15-20cm long and ready to
harvest. Pick only when about to
use or they may become limp
before you're ready to eat them.
While common chives dies back
in winter, garlic chives (Allium
tuberosum) tends to grow on.
Harvest the leaves when young;
older leaves can become tough.
In warm areas, coriander will
continue to grow. In cooler areas,
grow under a cloche or tunnel
house for winter harvesting.
Remove spent plants after
Florence fennel (Foeniculum
vulgare var. dulce)
While Florence fennel is grown as
an annual, if bulbs were not dug
up last season, fresh new feathery
fronds may emerge and can be
harvested for winter salads or
Keep hardwood cuttings
overwintered in cold frames. Keep
watering to a minimum and
watch out for disease. In the
garden, English lavender
(Lavandula angustifolia) is the
most hardy of all lavenders;
Lavandula stoechas (aka French
lavender, sometimes called
Spanish lavender) is also hardy;
Lavandula dentata (known as
fringed lavender or sometimes
French lavender) is less hardy
and needs protection from heavy
Lemon balm (Melissa
Lemon balm is a hardy perennial.
In warmer areas it remains a low-
growing mound over winter and
may produce new leaves for
picking. In cold areas it dies back.
Protect from severe frosts.
Lemon grass (Cymbopogon
Protect from frosts. Bring potted
plants into a sheltered spot.
Lemon verbena (Aloysia
Young plants will lose their leaves
over winter; older plants may
retain some leaves. Move potted
plants indoors in frosty areas.
Oregano & Marjoram
Bring marjoram indoors to
overwinter. Oregano is hardy
Grow parsley under a cloche or
tunnel house for continuous
harvesting over winter. Frost
doesn't harm plants but leaf
production will be slow otherwise.
Keep an eye out for slugs, which
love to munch on the young
Plants are reasonably hardy but
they dislike soggy soil. Ensure
your soil is free-draining. In very
cold areas, grow plants in
containers and move indoors over
winter. Continue to harvest leaves
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage is a hardy evergreen
perennial but it must have
excellent drainage. There is not a
lot of growth during winter but
older leaves can still be harvested.
If plants have become woody,
earth up and layer stems to
encourage roots and new plants
that can be removed from the
mother plant and planted in
spring. Watch out for spider mites
on indoor plants.
Salad burnet (Sanguisorba
This hardy perennial is at its best
during winter. Harvest the young,
tender leaves for salads. Cut away
any developing flower stems so as
not to hinder further leaf
Remove any remaining summer
savory plants (annual), which will
have done their dash. Protect
winter savory (perennial) from
Continue to harvest leaves to
encourage fresh new leaves to
Russian tarragon is a hardy
perennial; French tarragon is
half-hardy. Protect French
tarragon from frosts. Either grow
in containers and move indoors
over winter, or, as the plants die
down, mulch the ground to
insulate the roots. Mark the area
with a stake so you know where
the plant remains.
Ensure soil is free-draining.
Harvest stems as needed.
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