Planting season is not over yet! Don’t lose the perfect opportunity to fill your garden with autumn herbs and spices before the the first frost hits. Below we’ll go over some of the best herbs and spices to plant in August.
This zesty herb can grow quickly for a harvest just before the first frosts. It’s delicious served fresh in salads, soups, sauces, and as a garnish or spice for many spicy and Mexican-inspired dishes. If grown in a container, make sure the pot is at least 10 inches deep for the long root system of the cilantro plant.
- Soil: Cilantro will grow well in most outdoor soils. If grown in a container, opt for a well-draining potting mix.
- Water: Keep moist for germination and the first few weeks of growth. After that, water about 1-in per week.
- Sun: Plant in full sun if you have cooler temperatures or in partial shade for hotter climates.
- Fertilizer: Feed the plants lightly with a nitrogen-based fertilizer every other week.
- Timing: Cilantro may be planted anytime between April 1st and the end of August. After three or four weeks of growth, you can begin to harvest leaves by cutting the plant down by 1/3 each week. When cilantro starts to develop flowers, you can either harvest the entire plant or let the plant go to seed to harvest for coriander seeds.
Peppermint is a perennial herb that will live happily in your garden for years. The plant is a wonderful addition to teas and salads but also provides a wide range of medicinal benefits. If you grow peppermint outdoors, be prepared for regular pruning or the herbs may take over your garden. It may be more easily contained in an outdoor or indoor pot.
- Soil: Plant peppermint cuttings in a light, loamy soil.
- Water: Peppermint likes lots of water; keep the soil slightly moist.
- Sun: Pick a mostly sunny spot with partial shade for part of the day.
- Fertilizer: Provide an organic fertilizer every two or three months.
- Timing: Peppermint can take almost three months to reach maturity, so if you live in a climate with early frosts, plant your mint in a portable pot so you can bring it inside before the first frost. This is a great way to overwinter your peppermint and enjoy fresh peppermint leaves in your hot beverages on cold winter evenings.
Plant dill now and have plenty of fresh leaves to use for Thanksgiving dinner. Dill seeds germinate quickly and you can begin to snip off leaves to use for cooking within three or four weeks after they sprout. Since dill reseeds itself readily, choose a good, permanent spot to plant dill in your garden and wait for new growth to start up again in spring.
- Soil: Dill prefers well-draining, slightly acidic soil but will grow well in most outdoor gardens, regardless of soil type.
- Water: Water regularly and thoroughly, but allow soil to dry completely between waterings.
- Sun: These herbs like lots of full sunlight.
- Fertilizer: Dill is not a heavy feeder, so one application of slow-release organic fertilizer will be enough until new growth starts in the next growing season.
- Timing: Since dill can be harvested so rapidly, you can plant it as late as eight weeks before the first frost, but keep in mind that outdoor plants will go dormant over the winter.
These legendary medicinal herbs can be used for a wide variety of remedial benefits, from calming upset stomachs to increasing the production of breastmilk in mothers. The plants are not long-lived, so if you plant seeds now you can harvest the leaves and/or seeds before the first frosts hit in most areas.
- Soil: Whether you grow fenugreek in a container or in the garden, it grows best in a sandy, well-draining soil.
- Water: Keep the soil slightly moist; do not let soil dry out between waterings.
- Sun: Although fenugreek can withstand full sun for a few hours per day, it may also need partial shade during afternoon hours.
- Fertilizer: Organic material like compost or manure can be mixed into the soil before planting, but fenugreek will not need additional fertilizer as it grows.
- Timing: Plant in early autumn to harvest just before the first frosts. If you plan to harvest for seeds, let the plant grow without over-pruning until the flowers die and seeds emerge.
Thyme is a hardy herb that can survive winter if it is well-established when the first frost hits. If planting in fall, use cuttings to hasten the growth process. While it can survive the cold, thyme should not be harvested once it has gone dormant for the winter, so plant it now if you’d like some fresh thyme sprigs to use for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Soil: Thyme will grow in most well-draining soils.
- Water: Thyme is not a very thirsty plant. Water thoroughly occasionally, but only after the soil becomes completely dry.
- Sun: The plant likes lots of full sun.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizer will only be needed once a year in spring to support new growth. Any organic fertilizer will do, but avoid varieties that are high in nitrogen.
- Timing: Plant in early fall and allow to go dormant over the winter. New growth will begin in spring and leaves can be harvested any time while the plant is actively growing.
The chamomile flower is famous for its calming and sleep-inducing properties, and the blooms will make a charming addition to your fall garden as well. Plant chamomile now and have plenty of flowers ready to make soothing teas over the winter. The plants take around six to eight weeks to bloom, so you can harvest the flowers before the frost comes in. Dry the flowers and store them for an herbal remedy that lasts.
- Soil: Chamomile is not picky about soil; most outdoor soils or standard potting mixes will do.
- Water: Soak thoroughly whenever the soil is mostly dry.
- Sun: This plant prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.
- Fertilizer: Apply a phosphorous-rich fertilizer once the seedlings are well-established.
- Timing: Plant in early fall to harvest before the first frosts.
There you have it! Get planting now to enjoy the benefits of your autumn herbs and spices before winter sets in. Read more about herbs and gardening on the Living Clean blog:
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