The passing of the autumnal equinox…

I’m now well-established in the routine of the fall semester teaching. The autumnal equinox has come and now the nights are starting to lengthen, which means it’s time to prepare the herbs growing on the deck for the winter.

pots of sage and oregano on stairs

sage & oregano

Most made it through the summer, though looking a bit ratty now, and even having some strange things growing in the pots as well.  Some will likely remain usable most of the winter in this climate (chives, sage, maybe oregano, and the “walking” onions), or at least come back in the spring:  sorrel, chives, lemon grass, and, if I’m lucky the summer (French) thyme, and French tarragon.  Others will die back if I don’t bring them indoors when it gets cold: ginger, turmeric, and sweet bay (Laurus nobilis).

French thyme and French tarragon in small pots

French thyme & French tarragon

Many of my herbs suffered this summer, and some, even though perennials, are aged enough that they need to be replaced and others repotted.  While that’s going on I’m going to try to make the herbs a bit more manageable–so that I can take a bit better care of them than I managed to do this summer with a bit less effort. During some of the long hot weeks it seemed like I just could not keep up with the watering, especially on those that were growing in smaller pots.

I’ve decided to get some professional advice on my container herb garden.  I’ve a good friend and neighbor for whom I did some garden tending while she was out of town, and in payment, I’m taking advantage of her professional services to advise me on revamping my front-deck herb garden for next summer.  I’d like to keep my French tarragon, since I like it better than Spanish tarragon or Mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida), though that’s good to have too.

large lemon grass

lemon grass

I have to say that one new addition this summer seemed to thrive regardless of heat and my watering or lack of it: lemon grass!  It almost became a bit overwhelming–it started on the steps with the sage, and had to be moved because it was so large.  It was a rather lovely contrast to the turmeric and the culinary ginger plants–overall a very tropical feel to my deck this summer.

I don’t want to give up any herbs that I had growing so conveniently right around my front door–I just want to make it a bit more manageable!  I suspect that I’ll find more that I want to add, but I’ll try to restrain myself and keep it within reason though I may want to trade some of the hostas or other ornamental plants for more edible plants.

hostas and caladium

not herbs!

This entry was posted in Food for thought, Herbs by sa.fifer. Bookmark the permalink.

About sa.fifer

Lover of good, wholesome food and wine. Cooks for one and the cat. Likes to paint-- a frustrated botanical illustrator and amateur (photographer) and fledgling birdwatcher, beekeeper, and Kindle addict. Works as a freelance indexer.

3 thoughts on “The passing of the autumnal equinox…

  1. It stays outside–unless we get a really prolonged very cold spell. I’ve got some in the pot which will stay outside, up against the house on a raised deck. I had ginger and tumeric survive outside–die back, but come back in the spring.


  2. I’m not surprised that your lemongrass survived the heat, since it’s a tropical plant. I grew one in a container a few years ago, and it did very well. I had no idea it would survive our winters, though! I assumed it wouldn’t, and got rid of it in the fall. Yours comes back? Do you bring it indoors during the winter, or leave it out?


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