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Connecticut Garden Journal: It’s time to move some herbs indoors for the winter

Tending the Kitchen Herb Garden.
Rich Legg / Getty Images
A woman tending to her herb garden in her home kitchen.

Fall is upon us and before we get ready to give up on the herb garden, consider overwintering some herb plants.

Now is the time to start moving some of those herbs indoors. Not only will you save the plants, but also you'll have some fresh herbs in winter. Some herbs are better adapted to the move than others. I find chives, mint, parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary all can be moved indoors successfully. While basil, cilantro and dill are better left for planting anew next spring.

The key is to start preparing these herbs now for the move. Pot small plants into containers if they aren't growing there already. Cut back plants and move the pots to a part shade location such as a porch. This will help simulate the lower light levels indoors. After a week or so, move the plants indoors, but quarantine them. Watch for any hitchhiking insects, such as aphids and mealybugs. Spray those plants outdoors with Neem oil and insecticidal soap. Once cleaned up, bring them back in.

Grow your herbs in a sunny window away from cold drafts. Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and oregano, love a well-drained soil that dries out between waterings and lots of sun and air movement.

Parsley, mint and chives are okay with a little less sun and need a more consistently moist soil. But don't overwater, especially in the depths of winter.

As new growth emerges in fall and again in late winter, snip it for cooking. Parsley may end up naturally dying by spring, but your other herbs should survive to move back outdoors with warmer weather.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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