We’re eight weeks into the school year and we’ve been harvesting since week one. Only a year round school garden can make such a boast, true, but the real secret is our perennial herb bed. Whenever we’re in between seasons or waiting for something to mature there is always the herb bed. Since day 1, we’ve been harvesting: basil, sage, parsley, marjoram, rosemary, mint, thyme, oregano, and sorrel. Other than basil, which is an annual, and parsley, which is a biennial, all are perennials.
Perennials are the classification of plants that go through repeated flowering and seed producing cycles before they die, or grow for several years, put out one seed production cycle, and then die.
Basil, which is currently seeding, is the only annual in the mint family. An annual completes the lifecycle (seed, growth, bloom, seed) in one year or one growing season and then dies. Most vegetables that we grow are annuals.
Biennials require two growing seasons or two years to complete their growing cycle. Swiss chard and beets are biennials.