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Culinary Herbs – Spring Tips

MARCH

  • Prepare new planting areas by tilling in compost, and adding lime and fertilizer if indicated by soil test results.
  • Cool season annual herbs such as parsley, cilantro and dill can be sown direct outside in garden beds.
  • Divide and replant perennial herbs. Note that perennial herbs do not have to be in the vegetable garden. They grow happily and make great additions to landscape beds.
  • Purchase and plant perennial herbs such as oregano, rosemary and thyme.

APRIL

  • Harden off seedlings that were started indoors by moving them outside a few hours each day. Extend the amount of time plants are left outside by an hour or two each day over the course of a week.
  • Wait until late April or early May to set out or seed frost sensitive warm season herbs such as basil.
  • If seeding directly in the garden, pay close attention to mature plant size and space or thin accordingly to ensure larger plants do not block the sun from the smaller plants.
  • For warm season annuals, sow a new batch of seeds every 3-4 weeks to maximize production over the growing season.
  • Be prepared to protect frost tender plants such as basil from a late frost/freeze.
  • Purchase and plant perennial herb plants or sow seeds direct in the garden.

MAY

  • It is now safe to seed or plant warm season annuals.
  • Mulch around each plant to conserve moisture and reduce disease problems.
  • Lightly fertilize young plants with an organic or slow release fertilizer.
  • Stake taller maturing herbs if they are likely to sprawl or fall over later in the growing season.
  • Lavender and rosemary need to have good air circulation. For optimal health, trim lower branches to keep plants from touching.

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