This time of year is so exciting with longer days, signs of life starting to poke through the mulch and fruit trees starting to bloom. The warm days and mild nights are perfect for planning and preparing your herb beds too.
If you thought you couldn’t have an amazing herb garden, think again. Many herbs are perennial in our area as well as many other areas throughout the west and there are so many to choose from, not only for taste but texture, fragrance and beauty too.
Most perennial varieties encourage sowing seeds 3-6 weeks prior to the average last frost in your area while the annual varieties need a week or two after. It’s also a good idea, as it is with most any planting, to amend your soil to create a light, well drained mix for the seeds to germinate. Most herb seeds are tiny so if you’re sowing in pots or even direct sewing in the ground use them sparingly and be prepared to thin them as they come up. If you plan to plant starts, check with a nursery professional in your area to see when certain plants are safe to plant.
There are some underlying benefits to many herb varieties and possibly the most significant here in the southwest is the ability to be resistant or even ward off unwanted nibblers in your yard. For instance, rosemary and lavender are typically very deer and rabbit resistant. As I tell all my customers, when it gets very dry and forage becomes harder to come by, even these plants can succumb to a hungry varmint but it will likely be the last thing they eat.
I’m a big cheerleader for herbs because of their ease to grow and their versatility. Many herbs are just plain pretty to look at and if you plan well they can add great colors to a perennial bed or make a pretty spot all by themselves.
By Jennifer Timms Hobson, originally published March 14, 2012