A-Z Gardening in Zone 3-4

For the organic gardner struggling in the short season climate

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme


Linda and I have always kept a small herb garden on the edge of one of our 3 garden beds, the smallest. We grew thyme, rosemary, basil, sage and parsley. For many years we potted the them up and successfully overwintered them in the greenhouse. Basil is so sensitive to cold that it would not even survive on my front porch in 50 degree temperatures. I can usually keep a pot of it growing in a southern window in the house. Two winters ago none of our herbs survived. Whether it was because the plants were very old or the temperature got too low we don’t know, they all died.

Future sight of our new herb garden

This year we are going to move our herbs to the side of the same garden bed and because we now have more room we are growing a larger variety. We started basil, thyme, culinary sage, lemon balm, parsley, rosemary, Greek oregano and hyssop in flats that we will transplant in late May or June. Hyssop is native to Europe where it is used to improve the smell of kitchens. It’s leaves are used to flavor green salads, soups, liqueurs stews and tea. It also attracts humming birds. Lemon Balm was grown at Monticello by Thomas Jefferson. It is used for making tea and is said to have a calming effect on children and helpful for upset stomachs.

I have recently learned of a good way to preserve herbs for winter use. Chop up fresh herbs, put in ice cube trays with enough water to cover and freeze. When frozen place cubes in plastic bags. When needed just pop a cube into whatever your cooking, or thaw it out and use as fresh. If anyone has more tips on preserving fresh herbs please leave a comment.

These are pictures of our new herb garden after replanting and during the summer.

Author: tbenkovitz

I have been gardening for over 50 years, 38 of them as an organic gardener in the short season climate of upstate New York.

3 thoughts on “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

  1. Tania, lookin’ good! Let me put in a kind word for two additions to your herb garden: lovage (roughly equivalent to celery — they might be related) and borage (the flowers attract bees, which will increase pollination). I have an amusing story about borage — introduced to my garden by Linda’s college roommate Bridget, which I’ll share with you when I see you next. I’ll bring you cilantro seeds too.
    I’ve rototilled and planted leeks, potatoes, onions. Garlic is impressive, and asparagus is beginning to poke up green noses. I have about 200 seedlings in this upstairs study on heating cables, under lights, away from cats.
    Tell me why each spring is more heartbreakingly beautiful than the last?


  2. My friend on Facebook shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came to your blog.


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