The Herb Pot Experiment

The Chicago area weather doesn’t lend itself to having outside potted plants in the winter.

As fall settles in, my family begins frenetically adding fresh herbs to everything we cook. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the herbs all summer, but when we realize in October that we are about to be cut off until at least June of the next year we go a little crazy.  Herbs in our eggs at breakfast, huge basil, mozzarella and tomato salads for lunch, rosemary and sage in almost everything we cook for dinner. Most years, we have just enough rosemary sprigs to make Thanksgiving dinner satisfactory, and then they are gone.

This year I decided I wanted my fresh rosemary and sage to make it until Christmas. In November I determinedly wrapped the pot that contains the sage, rosemary, and chives in layers of greenhouse plastic and taped it around tomato stakes with some duct tape. I used decorative duct tape left over from my Girl Scout leader days, so the result is a very festive monstrosity.

I was somewhat shocked to find that everything in the plastic wrapping thrived. I had been hoping for survival, but this was amazing. Despite freezing temperatures in early November, by Christmas we had more of every herb in the pot than we had when I wrapped it in the first place.

Of course, I took this as a challenge. I now have to see if I can keep everything going until spring! I did some online searching and discovered that people often put a strand of twinkle lights into a pot for added heat. Wow, does that work. I added a strand of lights on a stake and I wrap the whole thing in an old comforter at night. It must be eighty degrees in there even when it’s snowing outside.


I’m actually starting to think I may be able to keep these things going until summer. The problem may end up being that they are growing so well they will outgrow their little pot greenhouse. NOT a concern I would have anticipated.

It’s currently mid January. I will keep this page updated as the winter progresses.