By Charlie Nardozzi
With fall right around the corner, it’s time to start looking at your herb plants and deciding who stays, who goes, and what you can do to preserve the remaining ones for winter. This is a great project to do with your kids to teach them about preserving herbs and different ways to overwinter them.
Here are some activities to try with your kids:
- Learning about Annual and Perennial Herbs: The first step is to explain to your kids the difference between annual and perennial herbs. Some distinctions are obvious, such as chives being a perennial, while basil is an annual. But depending on where you live, some herbs may or may not make it through winter. Herbs such as rosemary, lavender, thyme, and oregano may not survive in cold-winter areas and should be protected or considered annuals. Have your kids research which herbs are annuals and perennials in your area.
- Preserving Annual Herbs: Once your kids know which herbs are annuals, talk about ways to preserve them for winter. This might include drying bunches of leaves or making herbal products such as pesto or flavored vinegar. Work with your kids to harvest and preserve these herbs properly.
- Protecting Tender Perennial Herbs: If you are growing herbs that are tender perennials in your area, they may need more winter protection. Talk about protecting these herbs by burying them under a pile of wood chips or bark mulch. However, explain that doing this now will encourage rodents to spend the winter in the pile and eat the herbs, so it’s best to wait until after a few good freezes to protect the herb plants.
- Bringing Herbs Indoors: Another solution is to bring certain herbs indoors for winter to protect them. Parsley and rosemary can be potted up at this time of year and brought indoors to overwinter in a sunny window. Have your kids research the right conditions for these herbs indoors, and talk about spraying them with an organic pesticide before bringing them indoors, to kill an hitchhiking pests.