Transplant herbs to a sunny window

  • If you grow herbs in your garden, pot some now to bring inside for winter.

    If you grow herbs in your garden, pot some now to bring inside for winter. Courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

 
By Tim Johnson
Chicago Botanic Garden
Posted10/2/2022 7:00 AM

It is time to start thinking about the indoor herb garden. Before frost, carefully lift and pot small herb plants or large perennials such as rosemary or lemon verbena to bring inside.

After lifting them from the ground, you may want to keep them outside for a few days in a partially shaded spot with even moisture. This will help them adjust to a move indoors. The shock from moving plants from outside to inside can cause some yellowing of leaves.

 

Once inside, keep the potted herbs in a sunny window.

• Peonies are dependable, long-living, hardy perennials. Their neat foliage stays green from spring until frost, and follows large, showy blooms. They do best in full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade. Flowering is reduced if placed in the shade.

September is a good time to plant peonies, as well as divide and transplant existing ones. Lift roots carefully and use a sharp tool to cut the large, fleshy roots into smaller pieces. Be careful not to make these pieces too small -- each section should have at least three eyes.

The eyes are reddish growing buds that emerge from the top of the roots. You will find them in spring and fall. Set these divisions an inch or two below ground.

• Be sure to document any changes you have thought about making to your garden now. It is easy to forget these observations over late fall and winter. Good garden notes will make you more efficient and your garden better looking.

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• Have your garden soil tested to determine how best to manage it and what fertilizers to use. Make a composite sample from a few areas in the bed and send in for testing. If your garden is large, it is a good idea to break the garden into zones to test.

Soils in the Chicago area tend to have adequate phosphorus levels so choose fertilizers that do not have phosphorus in them or very small amounts. A soil test will confirm the status of your garden soil and help you craft a management plan for your garden soil next year.

• Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at Chicago Botanic Garden, chicagobotanic.org.

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