It winters in Minnesota without special accomodation.
Bad experiences with other weedy herbs (oregano, peppermint)?
It's non-invasive. It's really just a small shrub.
In the fall before your sage slumbers for the winter, snip a few sprigs. Bundle them and hang upside down to dry in your kitchen. When you make turkey, chicken or stuffing, rub a few dried sprigs between your hands and let the savory bits sprinkle over your food before you cook it.
If thistles were a cash crop, I'd be rich. Our house was vacant for a year before we bought it, and a jungle of weeds sprung up in the lawn. Did you know that one Canadian Thistle can colonize an area 3 to 6 feet in diameter in one or two years?* Did you know that pulling thistles make them worse? The stem breaks and sends up two shoots from the broken stem. They have a huge underground root system (horizontal roots may extend 15 feet or more and vertical roots may grow 6 to 15 feet deep*). And let's not forget all the seeds thistles send flying in the wind if you let them flower. Ugggghhhh! I read all these things when trying to figure out a way to control them without herbicide. These plants have an amazing set of survival mechanisms.
This summer, I broke down and succumbed to having a lawn service. I hope one summer of this will get the thistles (and other less daunting weeds) down to a manageble level. Even so, here's a shot from my freshly-planted tomato garden to illustrate the problem. Those little sprouts next to the tomato plant are Canadian Thistle. It's still hand-to-hand combat in the garden.
- You are so full of chocolately goodness. I love how you smell when I water the garden. - Next spring, Dan can just till you right back into the soil, and you will loosen it nicely. - O course you're mulch, so you keep down the weeds and keep in the moisture. - You make my gardens look oh so pretty. - You're not toxic (except to dogs, but I don't have one) or full of dyes or weird stuff. Apparently it is even organic. See link above.
Since we moved into our new house just over a year ago, we decided to turn the two backyard flower beds into a pepper garden and a tomato garden. But of course, since we live in Suburbia and have about a thousand neighbors, these little side gardens cannot just be functional. They must look pretty too. To accomplish this, I use cocoa bean mulch. I seriously love this stuff. I just finished my tomato and pepper gardens tonight.
Pepper garden as seen from the deck. We grow a mix of sweet and hot peppers. I pickle the hot peppers and we eat all the sweet ones fresh. One of my favorites is a sweet Italian heirloom pepper called "Corno di Toro." I discovered this variety last year. The multi-colored (red, orange, yellow, green) peppers are huge and so sweet! I also snuck a tarragon plant into the middle this year.
The tomato garden curves around the posts of our deck. The tomatoes are backed by a few miscellaneous perennial flowers, as well as a beautiful sage plant (show in the front left of the picture below).
I don't grow enough tomatoes to can, but I make really delicious "sun-dried" tomatoes in my mom's dehydrator.
Look for a post later about the "big" garden. It doesn't look so pretty yet. Plus I still need to plant red pototoes, pumpkins and watermelon.