In this episode, Beverly Welch is joined by Ann Wheeler from Log House Herbs. Bev and Ann talk about what is best to plant for Late Winter.

♪ [music] ♪ – [Beverly] You know, Ann, it’s late winter, we still have this cloudy weather, we’re still getting these 30 and 40-degree nighttime temperatures. Spring hasn’t quite sprung, but we are ready to plant.

– [Ann] Absolutely.

– So in this lovely dedicated herb house, what can I plant right now?

– Well, just standing here, Beverly, and looking around I don’t see anything that you couldn’t plant right now. Because as we progress through this month and forward, all of these things that you and I are looking at from where we’re standing, they’re all perennial herbs.

They have a wide temperature range that they will accept. And I’ve had herbs in the greenhouse freeze solid in their little pots and just keep on growing.

So they’re very tough as to any cold we might get even now. So I think the early spring months are really advantageous.

– Well, there’s less environmental pressure to get things in the ground now because we don’t have that intense heat and sun. We’re getting rain so…

– I think it’s a perfect time to plant herbs. The only exception is basil and that just can’t handle what we call late winter or early spring.

– Right. Because we can get two or three seasons in one day.

– That’s right.

– But we have plenty to… we are spoiled for choice.

– Yes, we are. So we’re just going to walk down this aisle and I want you to kind of pick out a few of your favorites that you think would do exceptionally well in this crazy up and down weather we have right now. So how about the chives?

– The chives right now may be a little bit slower than they would be if the temperature were higher. But they will go ahead growing roots and getting settled in and they’ll be ready to use and remember to cut your chives from down here rather than giving the whole planet haircut.

– Very good tip.

– And then they can carry on growing at maximum energy level.

– Perfect.

– And parsley.

– Parsley. It’s beautiful.

– Yeah. It’s just gorgeous. It really is until it just gets too too hot and the thing that happens is the heat doesn’t kill it, it goes to seed. So encouraged to, you know, live strong and prosper. And it’ll go up to making blooms and then at that point, it really needs to be replaced, retired.

– And a great evergreen shrub that everyone should include in their landscape is bay.

– Yeah. And you know, people have the impression that bay is hard to grow and I think in the past, it said you have to put it in a pot and keep it in the garage in the winter and well. And I’ve grown it in deep shade and I’ve grown it in light shade and I’ve grown it out in the blazing sun.

– Well, it’s a good small accent shrub just for your landscape in general.

– It’s evergreen.

– This new variety that Monrovia’s come out with, the Little Ragu, very, very flavorful, gorgeous foliage, but a more contained size because bay can and laurel can get large.

– Oh, it can get huge. And it is hard to move it. My husband and I discovered that. We had to get the tractor out to move one out of a pot it was in. It was very happy in a pot.

– Wow.

– Yeah.

– So how about sorrel? That’s one that, you know, people walk by and not sure what it is, not sure what to do with it but it’s a gorgeous plant.

– And it is very pretty. I’ve had sorrel fill a pot completely and it’s a wonderful accent planting to have nearby. It likes to…and that particular one was out on a kind of a deck that was on the second floor. There was a lot of sun and it was very happy there.

– Well, these young tender leaves have a citrus overtone too. Very good in salads, sandwiches, and you mentioned even soup.

– Soup. There’s a classic French soup made with sorrel. So it’s good.

– So again more parsley. Now we’ve got the triple curl parsley so you like that bright ruffled look but then you’ve got the Italian parsley. What would be one advantage of one over the other?

– I think the Italian parsley has more and better flavor for the kitchen use and I really like using…I cut mine down like this with scissors to bring it in to use in the house in a salad or in soup or anything and I use the stems as well, I chop them all up and use them as well.

I just think…it seems to me also that it perhaps lasts a little bit longer into the hot months…

– The Italian does than the more curly.

– …than the curly, I’m not sure. But I think, if you can, to get the parsleys, any of these deep winter ones, if you can get them to where, by May, June, they’re getting a little bit of shade each day, it makes them last that much longer.

– Perfect.

– Yeah.

– Perfect. And you know, we always had this huge selection of thyme.

– It’s amazing.

– It is amazing. So you know who doesn’t have time for thyme? I’m going to put that in there.

– I have to say also as a side note, I visited the National Herb Garden in England one year and they didn’t have this many thymes.

– Oh, wow.

– So…

– So we’re very fortunate to be able to grow them here.

– Very fortunate. Yeah, we get good ones.

– And such a huge selection.

– And a huge selection. And I’ve not tried any except the teeny tiny ones that didn’t just love Texas.

– All right. That’s great. Okay, sage.

– Yeah. We have good sages now.

– We got to talk about Madeleine’s, the Neve Ya’ar.

– The Neve Ya’ar. People are put off by that name sometime. But actually, for the first couple of years of its life it was referred to by the research station Hybrid nNumber Four. It was developed in Israel, and they just called it…

– Hybrid Number Four.

– …Hybrid Number Four because that’s where it was. But it was my thought that it should have a proper name not just a number. And I named it for the experimental station of Neve Ya’ar in the northern part of Israel.

– Perfect.

– I think it’s a good name.

– Now this, you know, we always encourage people to use edibles in the landscape and there’s nothing better than herbs. This is the most beautiful plant in the spring when it blooms.

– It is, isn’t it?

– That sky blue flower is stunning on this silver foliage.

– It is. And after that, after it blooms, you can go ahead and prune it to your specifications and so forth but it’s worth waiting for those flowers.

– Oh, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. So again, we’ve got a huge selection of sage and of course, everybody wants cilantro.

– Yes. And I’m looking at this, Beverly.

– That’s the culantro.

– Oh, yes. That’s one that likes shade, I believe, doesn’t it?

– Yes, it is. Yes, it does.

– Very and it’s a totally different looking plant. But we all need to have cilantro in our garden because we don’t need those great big bunches you have to buy at the grocery store, you just need a little bit. One of our granddaughters asked one time when we were making guacamole, “Where’s that grass you put in it?” And she was referring to the…

– To the cilantro?

– …the cilantro that was chopped up and put it in guacamole.

– So don’t you feel like it’s quite the same as parsley?

– Yes, it is.

– And in the length of its season, you can put it where it gets a little shade and we have a cool elongated spring.

– Yeah.

– You’re going to carry it through quite a while. But don’t try to plan it in June.

– No.

– No.

– No, it doesn’t work to plant it late.

– Perfect. So I love fennel.

– Oh, I do too.

– And I love to use it in the garden as my grass because it’s an evergreen here through the winter and you get this light lacey foliage and this beautiful purple stem. You can do the bulb being tight if you like those big bulbs of fennel.

– Big bulbs to use. I’ve never seen anything I liked better than when I had a large rose garden and I had bronze fennel planted amongst the roses. When those roses are blooming and the fennel was waving in the breeze it was perfect.

And textures and colors it was…

– And it’s a great larval food for the swallowtail butterfly.

– Absolutely.

– So, you know, it’s just multi-purpose.

– Multi-purpose plant and edible, of course, and many uses for fennel in the kitchen.

– And then another striking one this time of year is dill.

– Yes, it is good to have it now.

– Yes, it is.

– It’s too bad that dill and the cucumbers don’t come along at the same time.

– They never ever do.

– But, you know, you can cut dill and cut the stems of it off and put them in a jar with some vinegar water in it and save that dill until the cucumbers are ready.

– Oh, that’s a good tip. I like that. Perfect.

– Yeah. You can have your own dill that way. This one would be a great candidate for that because of lots of stems.

– Perfect.

– Yeah. And there’s all kinds of flavor on down in the stems as well.

– Well, thank you, Ann.

– My pleasure.

– I think it’s time to plant.

– I do too, every day. ♪ [music] ♪

The Arbor Gate

Written by The Arbor Gate The Arbor Gate staff enjoys contributing to the blog along with our talented writers. As much as we enjoy contributing to this blog, we are the first to admit that we're much better with a shovel than a keyboard!