When you plant your herbs really depends on the plant, but you can't go wrong planting herbs the same way you plant vegetable seedlings; that is, plant them out in the garden after all danger of frost is past (see Chapter 13 for info on vegetable gardening). The reason this strategy works for most herbs is that a lot of them aren't especially cold-tolerant. This technique also gets them in the ground under encouraging conditions: warm soil, warm air, and a good summer stretching out ahead of them. They should surge right into robust growth.
Obviously, if your climate is fairly mild (as in the South and Southwest, the Gulf Coast, and most of California), you can plant herbs earlier in the year than, say, someone in New England or the upper Midwest, who's better off waiting until Memorial Day or so.
Avoid planting herbs — even if you spot plants for sale somewhere at a bargain price — in the heat of summer. Planting then stresses out even dryland natives like oregano and lavender. Also, obviously, if a cold winter is coming on, now is not the time to put out herbs. If you want to enjoy some herbs during the winter months, you're better off growing them in pots that you bring indoors to a sunny windowsill. See Chapter 16 for details on container gardening or check out the upcoming section titled "Potting your herbs."
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Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?