Taking My Herbs Inside For Winter
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Sharon Breunig
Posted on: September 28, 2005

I live in Northern Illinois. USA. Right now the weather is still great for my outdoor "herb garden". I just have some outside in pots... two types of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, Italian parsley, and cilantro. Please give me advice for how to bring these inside so I can have fresh herbs to cook with all winter. I do have a sunroom (4 seasons) but please give me specifics as to what type of container I need, what type of extra lighting; do I cover them, etc.

The larger the container the lusher the herbs will be. Make sure they get lots of light. If they start to elongate too much you may not have enough light and putting a flourescent set of tubes over them -very close to the tops of the plants - would be a good idea.

Basil should be moved in before the nights drop below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) because even low temperatures above freezing kill them.

Parsley has to come in before any frost, otherwise it will just bolt to seed and not bother to produce any more leaves. It will eventually do that anyway, but not freezing it delays the inevitable.

Cilantro, if the annual type will have to be resown anyway so I would not bother to move it in but sow again. The perennial, tender type move in before any frost.

Oregano, rosemary and thyme should come in at the latest before any hard frost.

You might want to give all your plants a spray of insecticidal soap before moving them in to kill any hitch- hickers that would reproduce incredibly fast in the warm indoor environment, where they have no natural enemies.

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