If you want to spend more time in the garden but don’t know where to start, or even if you simply want to improve your cooking, a herb garden could be a great start! This is a simple guide for planting a herb garden as well as their uses and some quick tips.
Basil helps to make a delicious pesto for pizza/pasta when chopped finely and added to olive oil or why not try it as a garnish for a salad?
When planting bsil it is best to use well drained, rich soil so a normal plant pot is usually the best option. But remember that basil does love the sun, so a patio in the summer and a sunny window in the winter is a good start.
For planting it is best to sow around May/June in seed trays to start, then once the seedlings are around 3 inches tall start to place into individual pots. Then start hardening off the plants by leaving them outside during the day and then bringing them inside at night, just remember lots of liquid feed! Around July time the leaves should be ready for harvest.
Mint is great to be used in teas or added to roast lamb, and even to be added to a salad.
It is usually best to grow in a pot simply due to the fact mint can get a little out of hand in the garden. Use a good rich moist soil and you should be good to go. Just remember to put it in a sunny spot for the mornings.
Mint typically grows to around 1 or 2 feet tall, and requires minimal attention and therefore is a good plant to start with, just be careful as it will spread and takeover unless placed in a pot. A nice idea is to plant by a path so when you walk past, your feet brushing the leaves to release the fragrance.
Coriander is mostly used in indian recipes and adds a very fragrant element to spicy dishes; it is great for use in curry dishes, or why not add some carrot and coriander for a great soup.
Usually coriander struggles in constant sun and so it’s best to plant in a pot so you can move it around but make sure the pot is quite deep to allow for the tap root. A nice shaded spot at midday is ideal.
When growing in beds outside it is best to start off as seeds and then keep the soil moist as coriander does not like dry conditions. It is known to lose the foliage if transplanted out of seed trays.
Like mint, chives are a very diverse herb and can be widely used in cooking, they are similar to garlic and onions and so work well with risotto or hummus.
The best conditions are full sunshine and well-drained soil, but can also grow in partial shade and heavier soils. If used often it is best to use some sort of fertiliser. Even though the flowers do look pretty, the plant will grow a lot more if the buds are removed.
Very common in french cooking with fish dishes, or can also be used with potatoes.
Very chalky soil is great for growing parsley in the garden as they love the neutral-alkaline soils. If your soil is not chalky then a plant pot where you can actually manage the soil is great too. Placing in the sun or even a partial shade will help it to thrive.
Sage can be used sparingly for many different recipes. You can also partner sage with onion in a stuffing or use when cooking pork.
This can be very difficult to plant correctly as sage is very particular on the soil type and location. Usually you should keep it well drained or dry and in a neutral to alkaline soil. Best kept in full sunlight and does not like low light in winter.
A good tip is to be very generous when pruning this herb in the spring as this will encourage a fresh, full foliage.