Some herbs struggle in the heat but thrive during the cooler months. Grab some empty pots or make space in a garden bed and plant up these favourites so you have them on hand when you’re cooking up those delicious winter warmers.
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
If you’ve struggled growing coriander in the past, it was probably due to the conditions. During the warmer months, coriander tends to bolt (set seed) in hot or dry weather, then the stems become woody and inedible. Growing coriander in cool conditions is a breeze. Sow seeds direct into pots, or if preferred, raise the seeds inside in biodegradable jiffy pots. When they’re ready to plant, transfer the jiffy pot into the growing pot – this helps minimise root disturbance, which can also cause them to bolt prematurely.
- Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Dill can be grown in the warmer months, but high temperatures can cause plants to burn or bolt, so it requires protection on the hottest days. Planting dill now, particularly in pots, reduces the need for constant care. It can grow up to 1m tall, and the fine, ferny foliage makes for a great potted feature on the balcony or patio. Position your plant in full sun and pick regularly to prevent it going to seed. If seeds do develop, you can use them to flavour dishes.
- Winter savory (Satureja montana)
Although it’s not mentioned as much as other herbs, winter savory deserves a place in your herb garden. It’s a perennial herb with a strong, spicy flavour that’s the perfect accompaniment to winter salads and warming soups and stews. Sow seed or plant seedlings, and position them in full sun. Cut back plants after flowering and they’ll produce lots of fresh growth.
You’ll find more herbs that grow lush and healthy in winter, and tips for what to do when the growing season finishes, in the June 2021 issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, out now.