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Let Herbs Flower In Fall

By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - As summer starts to come to a close, you may be done with your herbs, even if they're not finished yet. After growing mint, basil, oregano and who knows what since June, you may have gathered all the herbs you can dry, freeze, or eat fresh by now - how many sprigs of thyme do you need?

All summer long, most gardeners stop herbs from flowering by pinching off the tips. That habit is said to keep herbs from getting bitter - but I also do it because it keeps prolific plants like mint from dropping seeds out of my pots to run rampant in my gardens. But by September, I relent and let my herbs produce pretty little flowers - pink and purple and white spikes that delight the bees this time of year, since there's not much else in bloom.

You can eat the flowers if you like, they usually have a milder taste than the herb, but let some flowers finish so seeds form too. You can sprinkle some seeds into pots to sprout again next spring, and bring the rest of your herb seeds inside to sort, dry, and store in envelopes that you can give to friends throughout the coming year.

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