The U.S. Department of Agriculture divides the U.S. into eleven growing zones. These are determined by weather patterns, and this system helps gardeners identify plants that grow well in their region. Those who are planting a garden in zone 7 are able to choose among a wide variety of herbs, vegetables, flowers, crops, and ornamentals. Zone 7 has a moderately long growing season which lasts about eight months, with an annual low temperature of about 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The first frost is around November 15th, and the last frost is around April 15th.
When choosing herbs for zone 7, if a perennial herb that isn’t suited to zone 7 is desired, grow it in a container and then bring it indoors over the winter. If the difference is minor, between zones a and b, plant the herb in a protected area, in an alcove, or between a solid fence and a building. If this isn’t possible, mulch heavily around the plant in the fall and the plant may make it through the winter.
PLANT PROFILE: LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis):
Lemon Balm is a cooling and drying nervine herb with a strong lemony smell and a milder lemony and pleasant flavor. This popular mint family plant produces thick beds of fragrant leaves that emit a delightful scent that permeates the garden. Medieval beekeepers rubbed crushed Lemon Balm in their hives to encourage nesting. Lemon Balm loves the sun, and after a season of growth, provides a winter’s supply of lemon balm leaves for tea. Lemon Balm soothes anxiety, nervousness, and depression. It is a nervous system trophorestorative that tonifies and repairs the nervous system. Lemon Balm makes a delicious tea, either from fresh or dried leaves, and a tasty infused honey.
Lemon Balm Tea Recipe: Makes 1/4 cup tea blend, enough for 4 cups.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons dried lemon balm, 1 tablespoon dried oat straw, 2 tablespoons dried, seedless rosehips, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried orange peel, and 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender.
Instructions: Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
To make tea: For 1 cup of tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 rounded tablespoon of the tea blend. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey.