5c046ccb5e74d6e2359d59215f39f47d
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

Default Image
Shrubs Julie Bawden-Davis

Grevillea - Mountain (Grevillea alpina) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Organic Rose Monthly Plant Care
Roses Ralph (Jack) Shoultz

Rose (Rosa Hybrid) Organic Monthly Plant Care Calendar

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

Firethorn - Scarlet (Pyracantha…

4911 Julie Bawden-Davis
Firethorn Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Stag Horn Ferns (Platyceriums) - Care…

48757 Walter Andersen Nursery
Stag Horn Fern Care and Propagation
Planting and Mounting

Wisteria spp (Wisteria) - Monthly Plant…

5281 Julie Bawden-Davis
Wisteria Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardening Articles

Rootbound Pot
Container Gardening Nellie Neal

Rootbound...Future Unknown

I find most general gardening explanations to be either confusing or decidedly unhelpful, rather like the instructions for changing the transmission of my Datsun back in 1980.
Straz Residence Makeover
Landscape and Design Kathleen Hassinger

APLD International Landscape Design Merit Award Winner: William H. Reeve, IV and Sean Kearns

Association of Professional Landscape Designers Announces: Annual International Landscape Design Awards Program Winners

As Daylength Changes, Garden Plants Respond

11559
Daylight Chart
On Monday morning December 21st at precisely 9:47 a.m. our annual winter solstice will…

Tiger Palafox - Southwest

13415
Tiger Palafox
Region: Southwest

Steve Plath - Southwest

14268
Steve Plath
Region: Southwest

Plant Recommendations

Aloe cameronii
Plant Recommendations Julian Duval

Succulents for Pots on the Coast - Southern California

Julian Duval's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Succulents for Pots in Coastal Southern California.
Salvias
Plant Recommendations Steve Brigham

Salvias - A Great Choice

Salvias (Sages)

Succulents with Spectacular Flowers -…

9277 Debra Lee Baldwin
Crassula falcata
Debra Lee Baldwin's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Succulents with Spectacular…

Carnivorous Plants - Southern California

12741 Taylor Murphy
Taylor Murphy
Taylor Murphy's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Carnivorous Plants for Southern…

Bamboos for Small Gardens - Southern…

6680 Jason Kubrock
Chusquea coronalis
Jason Kubrock's Top Plant Recommendation: Best Bamboos for Small Gardens in Southern…

Featured Plant Care

Stevia Monthly Plant Care - photo via Wikipedia

Stevia - Sweet Leaf (Stevia rebaudiana) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Herbs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Pot Marigold Mohtly Plant Care

Marigold - Pot (Calendula officinalis) - Monthly Plant Care Reminders

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

Abutilon spp. (Flowering Maple) Monthly Plant Care Calendar

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

Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

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

Popular Articles

Using the Mulch for Home Gardeners

Home Gardener: Using All The Great Features on the Mulch

You Can Use The Great Features on the Mulch For Free!
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…

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)

Upcoming Events

Sorry, we currently have no events.
View All Events

Who's Online

We have 9764 guests and one member online

  • cchung