It can be a challenge getting herbs to survive our Midwest winters. But it looks like most of my herbs survived the winter OK. I mulched the St. John’s Wort and the Arnica Montana last fall. Both were new plants last year and both are hardy to Zone 5 (we live in Zone 4 and are close to Zone 3, so I know I was stretching things a bit thinking they’d survive.) They both came through beautifully.
Below is a map of my herb garden (as of last summer.) If you want an explanation of the herbs I have and why I like them, here are my comments on everything on the map.
I’m sorry to note the passing of my 3-year old Lavender plants. Lavender is also a Zone 5 plant. But I planted them close to a big rock (to retain heat) and mulched them the first year. They did great. In 2011 I didn’t mulch them (I forgot!) and they did fine. So last fall, I figured they were in a micro-climate (close to the house, protected from most wind, sitting between two giant rocks) that they didn’t need mulching. I was wrong. I also thought to push the survivability envelope and planted four lavender plants right next to the house, close to the front steps. Certainly next to the house was a micro-climate that they could survive without mulching. I was wrong. But I am determined to have lavender, so I will replant and this fall I’ll be careful about mulching.
The Joe Pie Weed is supposed to be hardy to Zone 3 but it hasn’t come up yet. I’m still hoping it will be OK. The Skullcap still hasn’t made an appearance, but I’ve learned that it is always a late riser, so I’m not worried yet.
The bunching onions that I started last spring from seed from Prairie Road Organic Seeds came up beautifully as did the Egyptian Walking Onion my mother-in-law gave me last fall. I haven’t yet rototilled my new Perennial Vegetable Bed . Last fall I laid down newspaper and horse manure to kill the grass underneath, so it’s ready to go. Once this interminable rain stops, we’ll rototill and I’ll be transplanting those perennial onions to their new (permanent) home.
The chamomile self-seeded beautifully this year. It
did last year as well, but I was so anxious last spring to get rid of the new spring grass before it got too out of control. Sadly, pulling out all those runner roots also uprooted a lot of my newly growing chamomile and my chamomile harvest last year was a little meager. So as much as it pains me, I’m not going to leave that patch uneweeded for a while until the chamomile plants are firmly established.
Things I Want to Improve
Once again, the Sharpie Permanent Marker that I used to write on the tin labels wasn’t so permanent. So this winter I bought a Letter and Number Stamp Setand embossed the herb names onto the metal labels. The letters are a bit small. I think if I were to get another set, I’d get this Letter and Number Stamp Set.
(OR this one. It’s a bit more expensive, but I do like the wooden box my first set came in.) But it’s still legible and (most importantly) permanent.
Seeing the perennials come up is the first, sure sign that spring is about to break out.