Herbs from the garden can be grown year round

  • Rosemary and other herbs can be potted, brought indoors, grown and used over the winter.

    Rosemary and other herbs can be potted, brought indoors, grown and used over the winter. Courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

By Tim Johnson
Chicago Botanic Garden

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 herbs in a sunny window.

• Install steppingstones in garden beds where you frequently need to walk.

There is a wide variety of materials from which to choose for steppingstones in the garden. Pick a style that complements your house, plant materials and other hardscape elements in your yard.

Dig the steppingstones in slightly and use torpedo sand to level them and set them into place. The sand will help to keep the stones from shifting when they are walked upon. Small steppingstones will be more difficult to stabilize once in the ground. Steppingstones that are thin (less than a half-inch in thickness) will be lighter and easier to work with but much easier to crack while installing them. They will also be more likely to crack if the base under them is not well prepared or uneven.

• Install pegboard on the walls of your garage to hang garden tools. They will take up less space hanging on the wall and will be easier to access.

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It is also a good practice to clean tools before putting them away. Remember to sharpen your tools on a regular basis to make your gardening chores easier.

• Schedule a time now to have your sprinkler system winterized later in October. Water left in the system can freeze and crack sprinkler heads and pipes. Compressed air is typically used to blow water out of the system.

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

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