NGA Articles: Overwintering Herbs

Overwintering Herbs (cont)

By: Charlie Nardozzi

Take Cuttings

If you don't have room to bring in a large potted plant, take cuttings of rosemary, lavender, pineapple sage, and other woody perennial herbs. Root the 4- to 6-inch-long cuttings by dipping the cut ends in a rooting hormone powder. Stick the cuttings in a pot filled with moistened vermiculite or sand, cover the pot with a clear plastic bag with slits in it, and keep it in a warm, bright room out of direct sunlight. Once rooted, the cuttings can be transplanted into individual pots and grown under lights all winter. Not only will you have fresh herbs to eat, you'll have some new plants to grow in your garden next spring.

Sow Seeds

While annual herbs such as basil need to be sown each spring, some herbs will do the sowing themselves and come back year after year. Culinary herbs that readily self sow include coriander and dill.

Collect the seeds now and store them in glass jars in a cool location. Sow them next spring. You also can allow the seeds to naturally drop to the ground in the garden and self sow on their own. The seeds will sprout in fall or early spring, depending on your location. In warm-winter areas you may have a continual supply of these herbs throughout the winter depending on the weather.


Wormy Leeks

Q. When I harvested my leeks this fall I found small white worms in them. The worms were below ground so there was no sign of them until harvest. What are these worms and how do I control them?

A. It sounds like onion maggots have found your plants. The adult maggots are actually flies that lay eggs at the base of onion family plants in early summer. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the fleshy part of your leeks and feed until it's time for them to pupate.

To control onion maggots, try planting your leeks in a different part of the garden next year and covering the whole row with a floating row cover in early summer to exclude the adult flies. Some gardeners have had success laying tar paper down on the ground around the transplants to prevent the adult flies from laying eggs. Another home remedy is to sprinkle wood ashes or diatomaceous earth around the base of transplants to kill the emerging worms.

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