When to transplant established and new herbs?

Julia NY(6)April 29, 2013

I planted several herbs last year in a space in the garden that was available and now I have completed my vegetable garden and would like to transplant those herbs to the new location.

Those I need to transplant which were established are Sage, Thyme, Oregano and French Tarragon.

I've bought some Parsley, Rosemary (my other one looks pretty beat up from our winter) and Basil over the weekend.

Can I transplant these now? I was thinking that if we get a late season frost I could slip some plastic pots over them to protect them. Mulch them? Fertilize and if yes, recommendations?

Thanks for the help.


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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Do some googling on coplanting. If you're going veggie garden, apparently basil makes tomatoes taste better. Also check your water requirements. Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, and Sage don't like as much water as the others. If this is going to be a permanent veg garden, I would consider a small raised bed on one edge for those to provide the needed drainage. Basil and Parsley like lots of water, and Tarragon in the middle. I do use some liquid fish or seaweed fert or a little general organic granule upon planting on my herbs, but don't go too much. If you give herbs too much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, you can get big bushy plants with lots of leaves and little to no flavor because the oils are too spread out. Also low middle number--you don't want these herbs to flower. Mulch yes, but keep away from the base of the plant, since they prone to root rot.

Basil--you'll need to wait until your night temps are over 50 before planting out. If you plant before then, it can go dormant and just quit growing.

Parsley--you should be okay on. Its a little pickier about transplanting, so be gentle. Generally direct sown, but I have used purchased plants with good luck. Know that parsley is biennial and will come back and flower next year. But the flowers are great for attracting beneficial insects.

Tarragon--is actually a rhizome root. You should have good luck transplanting it, and it's one that can benefit from division every few years. I have mine in a pot, and don't know how invasive it could be if its happy.

Rosemary--google some on repotting rosemary. Purchased plants are generally very rootbound and need some careful vertical cutting to the rootball. Sage, Thyme, Oregano you should be good on. Sage can get a big root system (it is a small shrubby thing), so make sure you dig enough.

As for the cold--if you don't plant basil yet, parsley is your only other tender one. A harder freeze could knock the green back on the others, but they'll rebound. Parsley too, if the frost isn't too bad, but covering it would be good.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Julia NY(6)

Thank you for the information. I'll keep in mind about those that need more water.
I'm hoping by the end of this week to do the transplants. I wanted to add some additional compost/manure to the bed just before planting in it.

Do you know if grass clippings would be okay to use as a mulch or is there something else I should look into?


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 6:51PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Potted herbs kept indoors or in very sheltered locations (like where you bought these plants?) need to be hardened off to outdoors conditions for best results. It is slowly introducing the plant to the sun, rain, wind, etc. of the great outdoors. We've discussed it many times here so be sure to search through the back posts.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 8:22AM
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Julia NY(6)

I bought the herbs from a local grower and have them outside on my porch so they get acclimated along with some veggies I bought. Some of the plants were outside already and others were in their greenhouse.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 3:10PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

You'll definitely want to spend a little time (at least) hardening off your plants for best success. Be aware, the last frost dates in my part of NY State aren't until late May. Some of the more hardy plants like sage may tolerate cold weather but even with a cloche, I would not put basil out until mid to late May. Basil hates cool temps!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:19AM
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