Greetings from Sage Hill Farms.......Is it autumn yet ? Well, there are signs in and around the farm that the hot, humid days of summer are on their way out. I for one am happy to see them go. Summer is a must in order to have beautiful gardens, so I tolerate it. Speaking of beautiful gardens, I surely hope you had grand results with whatever you grew this year. We have had a tremendous season with the herb gardens, they just get better and better. Blessings from the earth. I can't imagin life without them. Depending on where you are, will dictate what you need to be doing in the next few weeks to wrap up the season and prepare for the winter, and for the coming spring. Here in middle Tennessee, things are beginning to slow down and some things are starting to die back. I have cut all the mint beds back to just above the soil surface and expect to get another good growth before the first real frost. Basil is still pretty and producing but at a slower growth. It has been awesome this year! Oregano is cold hearty so it will continue to flourish, same with the rosemary. Chives, fennel and lavender are all still producing as well as the parsley and marjoram. If you are growing sage and it is the second or third year growth you will need to replace it to have nice healthy plants for next year. It grows very quickly and becomes woody very quickly. My suggestion is to just pull it up and put it in the compost pile and start with fresh plants in the spring. Container plants are starting to fade and die in most cases. It isn't a great idea to try and keep most plants growing through the winter in containers. If you have plants that you really wish to move inside and keep green, it's a good idea to replace the soil and amend to fit the needs of the plant for the change in environment. Chives will do fairly well inside, parsley and basil to a degree, basil is very iffy, it really needs sun to be at its best. I don't do inside plants so my experience is very little. If you just want something green and pretty for the winter, try a large pot of aloe-vera. Not only is it pretty it is very useful. Works wonders on small cuts, scratches and minor burns. Great on insect bites and stings and just awesome to break a stem and rub the gel over your face and hands. Good natural healing benefits. Do you have a compost pile started? If not, any time is a good time to do so. You can spend a few dollars and have a container composter or you can clear a space on your grounds and build your own, which will require wood boards, cement blocks or whatever material you like best. Or you can do it the real simple way like I do and just use the ground as your base and let mother nature and the earthworms do the rest. A must is to know what you can and can't put into the compost pile. (DO).....use all vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells, coffee and tea grinds/paper filters too. Grass clippings and dead plants that you pull up and discard. (nothing diseased) leaves and dead flower heads. (DON"T).....use any cooked products, meat or bone. Make sure all plants and grass clippings are not diseased. There are many good sites on the internet if you wish to do more reading about composting, depending on your soil make-up will dictate what needs to be added to your compost in the department of amendments. Never hurts to check your soil make-up , you can purchase a soil kit at your local garden center or farm coop to do this. I don't usually promote or push other websites in this newsletter, but I do wish to share this one. It is a wonderful project and I have been a member for some time. It's "International Kitchen Gardeners".........Worthy of taking a close look. http://kitchengardeners.org You may also enjoy my blog, more on herbs and ways to use them in your kitchen. (my next favorite place from the garden) http://beasbeatitudes@blogspot.com And you can find us at this address also: http://localharvest.org Just type in Sage Hill Farms and we will appear! Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or information you would like to share. As always...........from our farm to your table, we thank you!