cb9b481c8d79d3c20438d9f8bf6c385c
When gardeners talk about the cultivation any loose assemblage of plants, say vegetables, succulents, flowers or even bulbs, the discussion will eventually include comments about their preferred season.

It is impossible to speak for long about any group of plants without appreciating their unique seasonality. In colder eastern and northern climates there seems to be a thorough understanding of what grows in spring, versus summer, versus fall, versus winter.

Perhaps due to our mild coastal climate, local Orange County gardeners sometimes assume that we can grow any plant at any time of the year. Not so.
Ron Vanderhoff
 
The world of herbs is a wonderful example. Herbs are a widely varied collection of plants, and as such many have very strong, seasonal prejudices. Experienced gardeners learn these preferences and grow herbs. For instance, summer heat-lovers, like basil, mint and tarragon are about as comfortable in November and December a summer beach party. Don’t bother, wait until next summer.
 
Regarding herbs, frequently I hear the oft repeated remark from one gardener to another, “I can’t grow (fill in the blank)” or “That’s too hard to grow”.
 
I just heard it again yesterday. A customer was lamenting that he couldn’t grow cilantro in his garden. He had tried several times and had failed each time. “It’s too hard to grow” I heard him telling another gardener.
 
 
Hmmm, I thought to myself. Was it that cilantro was hard to grow or was it that he had been trying to grow a cool plant in a hot season? After talking with him for a moment I confirmed my suspicion . . . . he repeatedly had been planting cilantro in the summer to use in his Mexican dishes. It was a recipe for disaster in Orange County. It isn’t that cilantro is difficult to grow; it was that he was trying to grow it at the wrong time of the year.
 
In Orange County, herbs like cilantro, chervil, parsley, anise, dill and fennel are all plants that grow during our cool winter and early spring months. This is their time. If you’ve failed at these in the past, try again now and any frustrations with these herbs will likely disappear.
 
Cilantro, chervil and parsley are related plants. Small leafy herbs, they are grown primarily for their foliage, which when used fresh, adds a somewhat delicate flavoring to many dishes and salads. These are all small plants, suitable for borders or containers, or even used in an ornamental garden. They prefer to be grown in cool, moist, humid conditions and dislike long warm days, especially cilantro and chervil, which seem to almost melt before your eyes when planted at the wrong time of the year.  

Anise, dill and fennel are also allied plants. Anise and dill are famous for their licorice flavored foliage and are a fine addition to salads, used in soups or as a seasoning for several fish dishes. The feathery leaves of dill can be used fresh or dried and are used in salads, vegetable dishes, soups or as an addition to many different meat dishes.

After harvesting foliage from anise, dill or fennel during the winter and spring, the plants can be allowed to flower and set seed. The seeds of all three of these herbs add a second season to the plants and can be easily harvested and stored. Used whole or ground the seeds add zest to breads, cheese and salad dressings. Fennel seed is a common ingredient in Italian sausages and for flavoring of pork.

If you’ve tried growing cilantro, chervil, parsley, anise, dill or fennel in the past without success, don’t blame the herb. Perhaps you had invited these plants that prefer cool winter weather, to a sizzling hot summer party. Try again, but this time the invitation will be to a cool, winter get together, with mittens and scarves. I think they’ll have a great time.

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar.

Questions from Readers November 21st.

Question: I read your article last month about using corn gluten meal as an organic and safe way to prevent weed seeds from sprouting. Of course, I procrastinated and now I’m seeing thousands of little seeds sprouting everywhere. Is it too late?

Susan
Newport Beach

Emily, Costa Mesa

Answer: Yes and no. Corn gluten meal does need to be spread before weed seeds germinate. But, there are still plenty more weeds seeds that still haven’t sprouted, so even applying it now will have some benefit. What I might suggest is to work through the garden first with a long handle how or a shallow cultivator, knocking down as many of the young seedlings as possible. Then sprinkle on the corn gluten meal – and don’t procrastinate this time. Five pounds will cover 250 square feet and prevent a lot of work later on..

 


Plant Care Reminders

Birch Monthly Plant Care
Trees Steve Brigham

Betula spp. (Birch) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Vanda Orchid Plant Care
Orchids Costa Farms

Vanda Orchid Plant Care

Orchids are as easy as A - B - C!

Tips on Growing Tomatoes - Southern…

66756 Vince Lazaneo
Growing Tomatoes
One of the least-known treasure troves of information in San Diego County is that over…

Oranges - Sweet (Citrus sinensis ) -…

12086 Steve Brigham
Oranges Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Brugmansia spp. (Angel Trumpet) -…

32755 Steve Brigham
Brugmansia Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardening Articles

Julian Duval
Expert Bios Julian Duval

Julian Duval - Southwest

Region: Southwest
Citrus Tasting
Plant Profiles Ron Vanderhoff

If Your Orange is a Lemon, Listen to the Experts

Lance Walheim might be just about the smartest guy around when it comes to growing citrus in gardens.

How to Start Seeds When Living in Cold Climates

16733
Cucumber Seedlings
Growing plants by starting them from seeds is one way to economically garden.

Gardening on Paper

3171
Carol Mccray
The glossy garden catalogs have begun to arrive in the mail. Perusing these publications…

Plant Recommendations

Narcissus
Plant Recommendations Lois J. de Vries

Bulbs and Their Kin - Mid-Atlantic

 Lois J. de Vries' Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Bulbs & Their Kin for Mid-Atlantic.
Canna 'Pretoria'
Plant Recommendations Susi Torre-Bueno

Cannas - Southern California

Susi Torre-Bueno's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Cannas for Southern California.

Roses - Southern California

10402 walter andersen
Rosa hybrid 'Barbra Striesand'
Walter Andersen's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Roses for Southern California.

Hardy Green Ivies - Southern California

10477 Pat Hammer
Hedera walthamensis
Pat Hammer's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Hardy Green Ivies for Southern…

Shrubs - Southern California by Brenda…

19006 Brenda Gousha
Eden Climbing Rose
Brenda Gousha's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Shrubs for Southern California.

Featured Plant Care

Camellia plant care

Camellias Planting and Care in southern California

in Shrubs
Camellias are native to Japan, China and Indo-China, where they grow on well-drained…
Agapanthus Monthly Plant Care

Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus orientalis) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Peach Monthly Plant Care

Peach Tree (Prunus persica) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Buddleia Monthly Plant Care

Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

Six things for your indoor plants during winter

Do These Six Things to Keep Indoor Plants Healthy During Winter

Winter has hit southern California along with the rest of the U.S. No polar vortex here,…
Gardening Professionals and Clubs

Gardening Pros & Clubs: Using the Great Features on the Mulch

We'd like to help connect gardening professional and home gardeners. We've designed a…
Star Jasmine Monthly Plant Care

Jasmine - Star (Trachelospermum jasminoides) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Vines
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Bababerry Raspberry Monthly Plant Care

Raspberry - Bababerry (Rubus idaeus 'Bababerry') - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)