Perennial Herb Collection
Chives Planting: Sow seed 1⁄2 inch deep in pots or flats of soil mix. Germination is very slow. Constant moisture, darkness and warm temperatures are required. When seedlings are 4 weeks old, transplant in the garden in full sun. Growing: Chives should be divided every 3 years. Leaves can be snipped when plants are 6 inches tall. You should not cut closer than 2 inches from the ground, since the plants need some leaves to keep growing.
Lavender Planting: This perennial is slow to germinate, so sow indoors in seed trays, using bottom heat (18 degrees C). Keep soil moist until the seedlings are well established. Cuttings can be taken from the tips of shoots. Place in sandy soil and keep moist. Growing: Enjoys full sun and warmth. Transplant once the root system is well established. Very attractive planted in groups. Pick the flower stalks before the last flower on the spike has opened. Harvest on a dry day before the sun is too hot. Hang in bundles upside down in a shady, airy place. Store whole spikes or remove the flowers from the stems. Store in airtight containers.
Mint Planting: Sow seeds in warm, rich, moist well-draining soil, 1⁄4 inch deep. Thrives in partly shady locations with plenty of moisture and spreads voraciously. Allow 1-11⁄2 feet between plants. Don’t dress the soil with too much organic matter or fresh manure, as this will cause rust problems. Growing: Mint is a tough plant and can be harvested as soon as it comes up in the spring. Young, tender leaves and stems are more flavourful than older ones. Best used fresh, as mint loses potency quickly.
Oregano Planting: Sow seeds 1⁄8 inch deep indoors in early spring. Keep at a temperature of 70 degrees F. Plant outside when seedlings are 3 inches tall, in clumps; do not overwater. Prefers full sun and well drained soil. Growing: Harvest just before the plants are in full flower. Cut stems with flower heads attached and hang upside down in an airy, cool place.
Sage Planting: Sow directly in the garden 1⁄8 inch deep, in late spring. Thin to 2 feet apart when seedlings are 4 inches tall. Prefers well-drained soil in full sun. Keep the soil moist when the seedlings are young. Growing: Once established, prune the plants severely in the spring to keep them from setting seed, and replace them every 3 years or so, as they will become less productive and somewhat woody. Harvest sage before the plant flowers. Gather sprigs, tie in a loose bundle and hang upside down in a cool, airy place. Do not dry in direct sunlight. When the sprigs are dry and brittle, remove the leaves from the stems. Store either crumbled or whole in airtight containers.
German Winter Thyme Planting: Start seeds 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds on top of the growing medium and cover with a thin layer of soil mix. Keep moist until germination. Transplant to individual containers when plants have 4 true leaves. After the last frost in spring, transplant outside and space 6-8" apart, in rows 12-18" apart. Pinch off growing tips of upright growing varieties to make bushier plants. Growing: Once established, thyme does not require much watering or fertilizing. Harvest the leaves before the fragrant blossoms open in midsummer. Leaves are used fresh or dried to season meats, soups & sauces. Can also be used to make a nice flavoured vinegar. Height 10 - 12 inches.