Even though the colder, frosty weather is well and truly with us, there are some herbs you can still enjoy growing and harvesting all year long, even in winter.
There are a number of perennial herbs that survive frosty weather and even continue to grow quite well in raised garden beds, albeit slowly.
Some of the favourite perennial culinary herbs include chives, sage, thyme and oregano and all are easy to grow.
No food garden is complete without a couple of clumps of chives. Chives, a member of the onion family, are one of the easiest herbs to grow, and the grassy foliage can be snipped all winter to add flavour to scrambled eggs and all types of potato dishes.
The chive flowers are edible and can be added to salads or used as decorations for soup. Chives can be easily propagated by dividing an existing clump, but are also easy to grow from seed by planting about 5-6mm deep and watering well - at this time of year the best results will be had by starting seeds in trays indoors.
Sage has thick felted, grey leaves that are as beautiful in the garden as they are versatile in the kitchen where they are used to flavour poultry, stuffing mixes, cheese and bean dishes.
Sage grows easily in a sunny well-drained spot and in poor soils. It is drought-resistant and will survive most of our New England frosts.
Thyme is a low growing herb that is an essential component of bouquet garni and popular in slow cooked dishes such as casseroles.
There are many different types and all are great edging, rockery or ground cover plants which grow easily from cuttings. Thyme needs good drainage, full sun, soil that is low in nutrients and is both drought and frost hardy.
There are several types of oregano you can grow; the most common types are Common Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum) and Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana).
While Greek oregano generally has the best flavour, sweet marjoram is often preferred to common oregano due to its milder-flavour, but common oregano is hardier and will survive better through winter.
After a few frosty nights, many of the taller shoots will lose their leaves, but the fresh growth coming at the bottom of the plant will eventually grow enough to be able picked throughout winter.
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