Now is the time to help prepare your herbs for over wintering. Cut herbaceous varieties such as marjoram down to ground level removing all of the woody sprigs so all that is left is a tidy carpet of young fresh foliage. Not only will this make your plants look a lot tidier, it will also prevent you from catching the sprigs under your nails when harvesting new shoots over winter.
Conversely, leave the pruning of woody herbs such as rosemary and sage until later. The leaves, although looking weather worn, will act as a protective barrier against the worst of the winter weather and insulate the dormant buds below. The old foliage can be pruned off in the spring once the danger of frosts has past.
For a supply of fresh chives over winter dig up and split the clumps, potting them on into compost filled pots. Leave in a porch or cold frame and they will continue to produce fresh leaves throughout the winter. The same treatment will also work for mint.
Remove any dead leaves that may have fallen onto your thymes or other small evergreen herbs as this can cause fungal infection.
If the weather looks to be getting a little too cold then keep an eye on your bay trees. These will either need to be fleeced up or brought in undercover to a cold greenhouse or porch. This is for their own protection otherwise the top leaves will suffer cold damage turning them brown. This is particularly important for topiary bays as these dead patches will cause them to loose shape. However, should the worst happen, a solid trim and a good nitrogen feed in the spring should bring them back to their former glory by the end of the summer.
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