As the weather cools it is time to trim back the spice plants and dry out the remaining leaves for use over the winter. I like to over cut whenever I use a spice so I have leaves drying pretty much all summer long.This also helps to encourage the plants to produce more while growing.
Drying out spices is a really simple process. Place the leaves on a plate spread out pretty much in a single layer. Place the plate in a dry place out of direct sunlight and wait until done, about 2-3 weeks. Store in a containers until ready to use. You can crush the spices so they take up less space in the containers or not. It will seem a slight disappointment when an entire plate of leaves dries into a small mound, but remember that dried spice is more potent than fresh. Spice dried from the garden is also better than the dried spice from the store.
It is important to cut back all the growth on oregano, mint, sage and thyme if you want the plant to come back the next year. Rosemary can be left alone in my region, but I do not like to cut anything from the plant in the winter so I make sure to dry out a good amount of spice during the summer. After cutting them back cover with fresh potting soil and wait until spring for a new plant to emerge from the soil.
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