For the home cook, cultivating an herb garden is vital. I have always been drawn to growing pungent spices to inspire my kitchen because fresh herbs are far superior to their dried counterpart. Additionally, growing your own seasonings is one of the best ways to inspire new recipes for fall! This year I branched out by growing tomatoes (which are ripening beautifully so far!) but I always find myself drawn to herbs differently. Throughout this summer, I relished stepping barefoot through the grass to clip Italian or Thai basil almost every day. Even as my summer herbs are in full swing, I am planting for more herbs this autumn.
Why plant in Autumn?
You might be feeling exasperated with your garden after a busy summer of abundance, but there are several reasons why a fall garden is a great idea.
Here are a few reasons to take the plunge:
For the health of your soil
Planting crops in the fall can add lots of nutrients to your soil before your next spring garden. This will rejuvenate your beds for the next year while also providing flavor for your kitchen.
Fresh organic herbs are often expensive, withered and old at the grocery store. I love growing my own and using them whenever inspiration strikes instead of feeling guilty about my bought herbs going bad in the fridge.
If you are a spring planter, growing a fall garden can feel like a race against the frost, but with careful planning it can be a very rewarding and beautiful way to enjoy the season.
Less bugs and less heat! Weeding your garden on a crisp October day always beats the heat and insects of July.
How to Plant an Autumn Herb Garden
Choose seeds wisely
Of course it starts with knowing your hardiness zone and frost dates. Here in North Georgia, we have an extended growing season and more gentle winters which means some plants will easily last through the winter. I like to choose several frost tolerant varieties in addition to varieties just for the warmer season.
Troubleshoot from the summer
I certainly encountered my fair share of garden troubles this summer and am using this new season to find solutions. Here are a few frequent struggles to resolve in the fall garden:
This can be partially solved just by planting this season. But your soil might be calling for more compost or a cover crop.
Insects and Pests
I waged daily battles with chipmunks in my raised beds last spring and am now am on the lookout for a better way to protect my seedlings. This season is also a lovely time to experiment with different homemade sprays to protect plants from bugs.
It might be time to try cardboard gardening or permaculture to tackle weeds. Fall is a great time to experiment with this as the usual pressure to produce a garden of summer abundance is lifted.
What herbs should I plant?
This one is a favorite for cooking and won’t bolt as quickly in the fall as it prefers cooler, shorter days.
A great frost tolerant choice in my region.
One of my favorite kitchen herbs and can usually go into the cooler months.
As long as you have lots of drainage and sun! Use mulch to insulate for the winter.
Smells so wonderful and can attract lots of pollinators.