Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Grow Your Own Herbs

by Sarah - March 21st, 2011.
Filed under: garden.

Herbs are one of the easiest and most rewarding seeds to grow in your garden, yet it is something that a lot of gardeners shy away from.

In this country we spend a fortune every year flavouring our food, and with the influx of chefs such as Jamie Oliver who love to flavour and decorate their food with fresh herbs, we are seeing an ever-growing number of ready grown sometimes weak flavoured forced herb pots in our supermarkets.

Though these pots are apparently still living (they come in soil after all) due to the forced nature of their growth it is nigh on impossible to achieve regrowth from supermarket herbs and most even admit in their information that the soil is provided only to keep the existing herbs fresh, rather than to grow further herbs in the same pot. This makes investment in these items a very expensive way to keep your own herbs – especially when you can grow them yourself at a fraction of the overall cost.

Herbs can be grown in almost any container and are, on the whole, very successful with very little care and attention. Sprinkle a few seeds of your favourite herbs into some good compost and you will find that with a little watering, some warmth and some sunshine, you will have fresh green herbs all year round. And the best part is, as you pick them they continue to grow so one little pot can provide you with enough herbs to keep you going continuously.

Herbs are ideal to grow if you are limited for space as they require little room but provide colour, scent and interest to a garden, a vegetable patch or even a window box. And by growing your own herbs you have a much wider selection of flavours and variations to try. Though you are limited to one variation in the supermarket there are many different flavours and colours for each herb, which will influence your cooking in different way. So trying out different varieties of herbs as a great way to get variations in your cooking.

Ideal herbs to try on a window sill or in small pots include parsley and basil which are essential for today’s cooking and taste so much better when they are freshly picked from your own plant.

Basil is a fantastic herb to grow in a pot in the kitchen or as a companion plant for tomatoes. Treat basil as you would a tomato with lots of water and continuous harvest. If you are growing more basil leaves than you are actually going to use, pop the others in the freezer and they will last for the entire year or until your next plant starts to grow. As soon as basil plant starts to produce flowers the leaf production is virtually over, but by this time you should have enough leaves in your freezer to last until your next harvest starts.

Parsley is also a great herb to grow as it requires virtually no work but is a herb that is used almost daily in our cooking. Ideal for flavouring almost any dish, it is a great way to get children to try new greens and you can even encourage your children to put it on their pizzas, in their sandwiches or into salads for great colour and fantastic flavour. Sow a few parsley seeds every few weeks indoors and you will have parsley all year round. The curly parsley is the more common variety but try the flat leaf parsley for a superior flavour used by the very best chefs.

More prolific herbs require a bit more space and will need to be planted outside. These include Rosemary which is a beautiful spiky plant to grow in your garden. Similar to Lavender, when you brush past a Rosemary plant the smell is released and gives a wonderful aroma in the garden. Ideal for putting on the barbeque to give your food more flavour, Rosemary can be very expensive to buy, especially if you are just going to burn it. So plant rosemary in a high walkway part of your garden that has enough depth for its long roots and you will have a beautiful evergreen addition to your garden and your palate the whole year through.

And for a quick success try Mint. Mint can grow at such a rate that most people who grow mint do so in a container, as it can quickly take over your entire herb garden if you let it. But if you have a plot of land that needs covering quickly with an interesting plant, then mint is ideal – it will grow practically anywhere and gives off a beautiful smell which will fill the air around it and attract some wonderful wildlife to your garden. Or for an attractive addition to your kitchen that will give a beautiful smell and great flavour to food and drinks alike, plant a few mint seeds in a pot. Keep it watered and in a sunny plot and you will have a herb you never want to be without.

Whether you have an allotment, a farm or just a window, herbs are a great way to include colour to your garden and flavour to your kitchen, so find the herb seeds that suit you and have some fun with your gardening, you’ll be really glad you did.