Herbs are an easy yet effective way to add flavour and colour to any of your dishes. Their aromatic smells can take you back to the cooling scent of mint in a cold summer’s drink or the smell of fresh basil pesto cooking in your kitchen. The touch of an herb can tie together a meal, bring warmth to a cup of tea, or even heal a wound. They’re full of taste, fragrances, and nutritional and medicinal properties. With endless herbs out there to spice up your life, here are 5 herbs to plant in your very own garden in the late summer.
It's not too late to plant herbs as long as you get them in ASAP and calculate your first frost date.
Rosemary loves sunlight but also cooler temperatures. This herb will grow up to 24-36 inches (61-91 cm) tall at full maturity. Prune them regularly so they don’t get lanky. When harvesting, gently pull the small sprigs from the main stem or use a pair of pruning clippers to remove larger branches. Known for their medicinal properties and their distinctive fragrance, this aromatic herb is the perfect seasoning to all your dishes.
Companion planting tip: Plant them near other cold-weather vegetables; their strong smell will repel flies, beetles and other insects. However, be sure to keep them far from any squashes or pumpkins as both crops will be at war for space and nutrients.
Cilantro takes about 50 days to harvest and will grow to be up to 6-10 inches (15-25 cm) tall at full maturity. They can withstand the colder weather and prefer partial shade during this time, but need moist soil. To be safe, plant cilantro in a pot and move the container indoors once night temperatures reach below 16 degrees Celsius. When cilantro is ready to be harvested its leaves will turn lacey. To maximize the amount of cilantro you get in a season, pull off the outer leaves while leaving the centre ones to continue growing.
Basil, a staple in any kitchen is perfect to plant this month. Make sure to provide them with around 6-8 hours of sunlight every day and they should be able to reach 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) tall when they’re ready to be harvested. Basil is not only easy to grow in varying climates but both its leaves and flowers are edible. They can be topped on pizza, blended into sauces, transformed into puree, or chopped into a salad. The list goes on so get creative and have fun with this versatile herb!
Although oregano is most associated with Italian cuisine, this herb actually has a Greek origin. Oregano can grow to be anywhere from 6-24 inches (15-60 cm) tall and they’re extremely low maintenance. Known to be one of the herbs that thrive on “neglect”, they don’t need as much water as most herbs do, so water them only when the soil feels dry. Not only is oregano great in the kitchen, it’s also great for your health. This herb is full of antioxidants and there is some evidence supporting its ability to fight bacteria, cancer, relieve inflammation, and reduce viral infections. Tasty AND healthy food? Count me in!
There are two common types of parsley- curly and flat leaf. While the curly parsley is mostly used for decorative purposes, flat leaf parsley is known for its slightly bitter taste used to balance out flavourful dishes like soups, spreads, dips and more. Plant your seeds in moist soil spacing them about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) apart. This herb is known for its slow germination, so a tip is to soak them in lukewarm water for a day before planting. This should help to speed up their sprouting.
And there you have it! These 5 herbs are great for planting in late August before the fall comes in. Here are a few herbs that didn’t make the list but that can be planted as well!
If you are looking to give your herbs a boost as the weather cools down, apply Nurture Growth weekly. Mix one teaspoon of Nurture Growth in one liter of water in a spray bottle or a watering can. Apply the mixture directly on the leaves ensuring they are soaked. This one liter mixture should cover a five foot row of herbs.
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Krystle is a Ryerson University student majoring in Marketing and minoring in French. As a business student, she has always had a huge entrepreneurial curiosity with the hopes of one day running her own business. With a passion for environmental activism, she is always looking for ways to educate herself and others in the fight against climate change. She is upbeat, energetic and loves rollerblading, hot yoga and spending time with her little dog Zeus.