Thanksgiving is about being thankful for blessings, spending time with loved ones, and food.  Eating is one of my favorite activities.  I love tasting new and delicious food and Thanksgiving equals delicious food.  An essential part of making yummy dishes is the perfect blend of herbs and spices.  Fresh herbs are my favorite way to add that special something to food.  Fresh herbs are the secret ingredient.  Our gardening expert, Gwen Clark, shares tips for keeping winter herbs in edible shape during the hard to grow winter months.

                                       

The photo above is from her greenhouse selection of indoor herbs.  Gwen’s herbs look great, so don’t be intimidated – mine are a little yellow.  I grow basil, parsley, and rosemary.  The first thing to remember is that plants, herbs included, become dormant to “rest” in winter.  Sunlight decreases and air temperature chills so the plants slow their growth in response to this.  Although herbs grow indoors, they are especially sensitive to temperature and weather changes.  They will not grow the same way as they do in warmer weather.  Don’t expect the same growth or behavior, plants need rest from the mild shock they are going through. 

Indoor herbs need to be placed near windows or a source of light.  Even an indoor lamp will do, but don’t get your hopes up for major growth if this is your only light source. 

                                         
 I keep my potted herbs beside a window on a table.  I also turn the light over the table on for several hours each night to give the plants a little boost.
Gwen says to water herbs delicately.  She showed me that directly watering them may not be the best for fragile plants.  Store the pots in a pan or box and add water to the bottom so that the roots will absorb the water gradually instead of water running directly through the plant and not being retained.
                                        
The roots will drink the water as needed.
                                       
The plants will yellow during winter.  This is completely normal and do not think your plant is dying because the color fading is temporary.
                                       
Every week or so trim the dead leaves and stems from the plant.  Some dead leaves may fall on their own.  If not, gently remove them to keep the plant healthy.
                                      
Taking a few minutes a week to prune and water indoor herbs will keep them fresh and growing through winter months.  Now go out there and make something delicious with your indoor herbs!
Gwen Clark is an award winning agriculture and horticulture expert.  Well known throughout the southeast in agriculture circles, she is the primary Future Farmers of America advisor for Avery County Schools.  During her career, she has earned a stellar reputation promoting agriculture education for thousands of students.  She is responsible for securing grants for agriculture and horticulture research and education and works closely with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Agency and North Carolina State University.  We are extremely fortunate to have Gwen advising Effortless and Exquisite!

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