Philly’s extended forecast predicts some chilly nights, with temperatures dipping into the 40s. So, like the geese who use the tennis courts at FDR for target practice as they move south, it’s time for POD’s herbs to migrate as well.
The husband’s May dreams of herbes de Provence never blossomed (stupid lavender) but the thyme and tarragon are far too valuable (after all, roast chicken season is looming) to leave to the elements.
How to bring it on home:
- Transplant before temperatures become too cold — certainly before the first frost
- Move your plants from the sun to the shade for a few days prior to the trek indoors
- Don’t be afraid to be a little brutal. Using a very dull ex-fillet knife, simply slice the herbs into a manageable size. Keep as much of the plant’s root system intact as you can. In this case, all of the tarragon made the cut while only about a third of the thyme did. The rest remains in its pot on deck and will be left to fend for itself throughout the winter.
- Look at the plants very closely for bugs and other nasties. You certainly don’t want to bring outdoor pests indoors to infest your delicate houseplants.
- Snip off a decent amount of the transplanted herby goodness, so your plant’s energy is devoted to surviving the transplanting trauma, rather than sustaining existing greenery.
- Ideally, once you’ve repotted them in fresh nutritious soil, you’ll be able to isolate the plants for a couple of days in an unheated room, with the windows open and the door closed. This will minimize the shocking impact of the outdoor-to-indoor temperature change. If you can’t do this (which is this lazy gardener’s version of reverse hardening), bring them inside for a few increasing hours each day and then return them to their outdoor environment. After a week or two, they’ll be house-trained.
- Give your transplanted herbs a good watering and place them in a sunny window. They probably won’t produce as vigorously indoors in the winter as they do outdoors in the summer, but you’ll have enough for your roasted chickens and won’t have to buy new plants in the spring.