The herb garden is winding down as well. Before the first frost, I'll take the pots of perennial herbs indoors for the winter. Rosemary, mint, catnip and oregano will have to fight for space in the few windows that the cats can't reach. The kitchen windowsill is already full of lemon balm, lavender, aloe vera and a few houseplants.
The cinnamon basil has gone to seed, but I'm still harvesting leaves from the dark opal and sweet basil plants. I've dried lots of it, and am now freezing leaves in ice cubes trays with water, to use in soups and sauces over the winter. The purple basil never grew taller than four inches. It has a different smell and taste and I've not harvested leaves from it.
I've been harvesting the calendula flowers and air-drying the petals, but I've also left some flowers to go to seed.
The zinnias are still blooming profusely. I've left the old blossoms so that they can produce seed; I'd like to plant this variety again in the spring. It's probably a hybrid, so next year's plants may not be the same type and color as this year's plants, but hopefully it will still be productive and colorful. It has some sentimental value too. I don't know the name of the variety so I can't go buy seeds.
In the past I've had trouble keeping rosemary alive, but look at this plant. It not only survived, it's thriving. There's a lot of new growth and I hope to propagate a new plant or two.
This is the second planting of oregano. I planted seeds in spring, and although they sprouted, the seedlings never grew any taller than an inch. Eventually they died, and I planted more seeds about a month ago. The tallest of these is four inches tall now. I'm glad it's a perennial that I can take inside for the winter, so that it can continue to grow.
Although my outside cats ignore the catnip, my inside cats love it. Several times I've brought in a sprig of it and watched Tink, Collins and Colby roll on the floor and play with it, their eyes glazed. I'll dry a lot of this and use it to make cat toys. This pot is too big to bring indoors, but I will try transplanting one of the smaller plants into a smaller container.
In the tubs near the garden, the cayenne peppers are rapidly turning red. This one plant has been a really good producer. The paprika peppers are still growing and haven't yet begun to change color; I hope they will before we have our first frost. The lettuce I planted has been eaten by something - a caterpillar or snail I think - the leaf veins remain but the leaves have been eaten away.
Nearby, the Arkansas Traveler tomato continues to grow, and the number of green tomatoes increases daily. One smallish tomato is finally turning red. I hope I can taste a vine-ripened tomato before the first frost. I know I can take them inside and ripen them, but they taste so much better when they ripen on the vine.
Since my other tomato varieties have already died, this one tomato plant will be my guinea pig this winter. Once again I'm going to take some cuttings and see if I can overwinter them in the house so I'll have a jumpstart on spring. I've done it before, but last year the cuttings died off rather quickly. This is a different variety; we'll see how they do.
How did the container herb garden work out this first year? Great! I will definitely do this again next year. I have a list of more plants I'd like to add next spring. I've learned that some plants can't handle the hot sun in this location, so I will try them in new places next year. The lemon balm and lavender preferred to be in the house all summer. Gardening is definitely a learning experience.
What are your favorite herbs to grow in the garden?
You might also enjoy:
The New Herb Garden
The Herb Garden in June
The Herb Garden in July
The Herb Garden in August
The Herb Garden in Late September
Ten Ways to Use Basil
How to Dry Homegrown Herbs
DIY Cayenne Pepper Powder
Harvesting the Herb Garden
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a