Herbs hang from the rafters on the side porch, while others are dried and stored in glass jars or in the freezer. Herb vinegars are mellowing, while jellies and wreaths of herbs wait to be made. As the days become shorter and nights a little cooler, thoughts turn to winter.
Still there is time to plant herbs in the garden , not all herbs, but herbs that prefer cool weather and some perennials. Parsley, Chervil and Cilantro all prefer cool temperatures. Parsley is a biennial living two years before dying. Choose curly or the more flavorful Italian Flat Leaf. Soak the seeds overnight to hasten sprouting. Depending upon your area and the severity of the winter, one should be able to get several cuttings before the plant dies back for winter. Mark where you plant it so you won't forget where it is in the Spring.
Chervil should be planted in filtered shade in rich soil. This herb likes plenty of water. Thin seedlings to 9-12 inches apart. For a good supply plant every two weeks. Chervil is most flavorful during cool weather and just before flowering. Seedlings can be transplanted just before a hard frost and placed inside a cold frame for use through winter. In the Spring , remove the cover , the plant will grow two feet tall and burst into blooms.
Coriander seeds which produce Cilantro or Chinese Parsley should be sown every two weeks until frost. Harvest the young leaves when the plants are six inches tall , picking only the top few leaves to encourage growth.
Dill and Fennel should be planted directly into the ground, preferring rich, well drained soil and full sun. Thin the plants to 12-18 inches apart and keep well watered. Harvest the young leaves the same way as Cilantro. If Fall plantings of Chervil , Dill and Fennel go to seed, you may be treated to seedlings of the herb come Spring.
Cool weather is necessary for Florence Fennel ( finocchio ) to form a bulb. How soon cold weather arrives will determine the size of the edible bulb base. Very cold weather will stop the bulb's growth. Still there is time to enjoy the leaves of both varieties of Fennel.
Plant perennial herb seeds in rows with identifying markers, including Agrimony, Lady's Bedstraw, Salad Burnet, Catnip, Hyssop, Lovage, Sweet Cicely and Sweet Woodruff. I have planted Lavender Seeds in the Fall with a covering of leaves or pine needles. Leave the area undisturbed until June, and then gently brush the leaves away to find a small forest of Lavender seedlings. Transplant to an area where they can grow to size.