Herbs In October

Spring is a great time for growing herbs. Every thing is lush and growth is fast. Get your Basil sown now if you haven't already. If you want nice big plants for pesto it helps to start early. Healthy herb plants aren't usually too susceptible to pests but watch out for aphids on new plant shoots, and protect Basil from snails. They love it. I use Quash pellets which are safe for animals or I make some sort of snail proof barrier around the base of the plant. A thick ring of cat litter works well or recycled tins with the bottom cut out. (My dad used the tin trick, way back in the 1960's) Many herbs can be started from seed now .It's a cheap way to get a batch of plants. You could organise with a group of friends-each person sow one type and then swap so you all get some of each type. Thyme, oregano, chives, marjoram, basil and sage are some of the herbs that are easy to grow from seed. Parsley can be a bit harder, only because it can take a long time to germinate. My trick for germinating parsley is to put the container, that the seed is sown in, out in the rain. This often seems to work. It's also a good time to strike herb cuttings. Rosemary, lavender and pineapple sage are a few to try. Try heel cuttings-this is when you break a piece off the parent plant by tearing downwards where the growth is woodier and the break has a sloping tip or "heel". Poke them in a pot of seedraising mix or damp sand.You can make a hole first with your finger or a pencil so you don't damage the cutting when poking it in. Then firm the soil around it. I use old punnets or small deep pots to strike my cuttings.I find plastic containers make it easier to keep the medium moist. Take about 6 - 10 cuttings so you allow for the some cuttings not 'taking'. Keep moist. When the cuttings have struck you will see see new growth at the tips, and after a while roots showing through the drainage holes in the pot. Once roots are established you can plant them in individual pots and grow them on until they are big enough to plant in the garden. What are you up to in your herb garden now?

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  • Just cut back my sage and rosemary bushes, but still plenty to use. mint is fading and going over now that autumn is here in the uk. Hoping to grow some parsley but think i will have to wait till spring time.
  • Hi Hester, I found some rosemary and lavender growing at garage sale venues on the weekend so took a couple of cuttings of each, We have some excellent coarse sand here which I mix with potting mix for cuttings. my basil is at the pricking out stage. I have been dividing herbs for a friend who is new to gardening too, easy to grow things such as lemon thyme, lemonbalm, mint. I always look in the bargain bin at my local mitre10 where there is often a herb plant outgrowing it's pot, my last score was some basil mint for 50c.
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