Henrico County VA

In the garden

Planting perennials

Fall is the time to plant perennials including herbs. Because some favorites like basil and parsley are annuals planted in the spring, it’s easy to forget that many herbs can be planted in the fall and enjoyed until Thanksgiving, or if the weather is mild like last year, all winter long. And herbs can always be planted in pots and brought inside.

“Now is a very good time to get perennial herbs in the ground,” says Nicole Schermerhorn, co-owner of A Thyme to Plant at Lavender Fields Herb Farm. “It’s cool enough that you want to be outside working in your garden, but still warm enough for the herbs.”

“Typically we’re also getting enough rain at this time of the year,” adds Schermerhorn, “and you’re home from vacation now so you can take care of your herbs and begin using them.”

Hardy perennials to plant now include rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, fennel, mints, and parsley. The fennel and the mint will die back over the winter but come back in the spring.

“Planting now allows the herbs to establish roots over the winter,” says Schermerhorn. “They’ll flush out new growth in the spring.”

Herbs can be planted in dedicated herb gardens, mixed with vegetables, or added to flower beds and borders. Their various textures and colors can be very attractive, and many people enjoy putting fragrant herbs along walks or driveways where they can easily be touched to release their scents. Culinary herbs should be planted near your kitchen so that harvesting them is easy and convenient. You’ll use them more often.

In choosing a site, remember that most herbs require full sun, from 4 to 6 hours a day minimum, good drainage, and good air circulation. Good drainage is so important that Schermerhorn recommends planting herbs in raised beds.

“Clay soil,” she says, “does not provide good drainage.” She recommends a planting medium of one-third organic matter such as compost, one-third topsoil, and one-third builders’ sand.

“Make sure it’s builders’ sand,” says Schermerhorn. “It won’t compact like play sand so it adds drainage.”

Don’t mulch herbs. “We put a handful of organic compost around our plants to dress them up and improve the soil,” says Schermerhorn.

“Herbs do not like wet feet, and all mulch does in winter is keep their feet wet.”

In fact, most herbs are considered drought-tolerant, though some moisture is needed during dry spells to keep the plants growing. In general, annuals require more moisture than perennials.

Herbs also don’t require much fertilizer. Over-fertilizing an herb can produce growth that is too rapid, making the plant more susceptible to disease or insect problems and diluting the concentration of essential oils that produce the taste in culinary herbs. Herbs in pots are the exception. They should be lightly fertilized once a month during their growing season.

Using your herbs is important to keeping them healthy. Evergreen herbs can be cut and enjoyed in recipes or vases all winter.

“Herbs are designed to be used,” says Schermerhorn. “Cutting them encourages new growth, so keep using your herbs.”
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Garden greens


Emily Francis (left) of Richmond Green Drinks and Cary Jamieson of The Steward School checked out the cherry tomato crop Aug. 20 at the school's Bryan Innovation Lab following a visit by members of Green Drinks. Jamieson, director of the Bryan Innovation Lab, was among the speakers who pointed out various sustainable features of the building and its surroundings, including geothermal, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems, as well as rain gardens and large storage cisterns (like the one pictured) to minimize groundwater pollution. > Read more.

Canterbury Recreation Association ‘wins’ the ‘Dunk Hunger’ drive


For the third consecutive year, the Canterbury Recreation Association in Short Pump donated the most meals to the fourth-annual "Dunk Hunger" campaign, which raises money and food donations for FeedMore's Central Virginia Food Bank. Swim teams and community pools throughout the region combined to raise the equivalent of 77,404 meals this year, with the Canterbury group earning the Gold Medal, with 17,454 meals contributed.

CRA will earn a winners’ bash Aug. 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. at its pool on Pump Road.

“Our pool has adopted Dunk Hunger into its culture with fun ways to raise food and funds," said Canterbury’s Dunk Hunger chairman Jack McSorley, a Freeman High School junior. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Henrico County has a lot to offer this Labor Day weekend! Before summer ends completely, you’ve got to try some Virginia wines at Southern Season’s weekly event, Fridays Uncorked. Check out The Comedy Dad, Alex Scott, at the Richmond Funny Bone or put your thinking caps on and take on The Escape Room. This weekend also features a two-day event at Malvern Hill and Carrington Kay at The Tin Pan. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.






 

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