Any clever gardener knows that a dish instantly graduates from good to bloody great when made with the use of fresh herbs. Adding an incomparable flavor dimension, they really are an essential for all gardens, the doorstep or patio. Fuss free and not space hoggers, herbs are a dream to grow.
So if you’ve not grown them before, or need a brush up on your herb growing skills, let’s get started.
Must Have’s :
Whilst we don’t like to play favourites, some crucial herbs to grow are mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage. These are all permanent plants, which will pretty much last all year, aside from a spate of a quite production period over Winter. Of course don’t forget basil, coriander, dill, fennel, tarragon, and even the less common herbs too.
Spring and Summer is a really great time to grow almost all herbs, as the earth has warmed up and daylight hours are longer. They are a fabulous plant to grow as a family, because we all have differing taste buds, so you can have a great variety to keep everyone in the crew happy. They are a hit with kids as they will get enthused about how easy they are to grow, and if you make it a daily activity to grab a fistful of herbs prior to whipping up the evening meal, it can be an educative and collaborative job masked as a relaxing & fun thing to do together. Most are very hardy, so can withstand a few trodden moments, or an over-enthusiastic grabbing from cute little hands. They bounce back very quickly.
To achieve their best, herbs do need as much full sun as possible, but come Summertime some do fare better in the shade. So if you grow in pots, make sure you move them to avoid the intense Summer heat. Choose an open sunny spot. Best place is closest to your door – makes access from the kitchen easy, especially in Winter! You’ll thank us later. Size of course depends on how much you have, and what you want to invest, but a variety of herbs to give you a generous return will serve you very well. Personally I like to grow most of my herbs in pots, as it means I can contain them – especially the likes of mint – they wander like hell, and are impossible to remove, so consider pots for mints and other spreading herb varieties.
Some like to grow herbs in between brick pavers to make a lovely display, not to mention a lovely fragrance if you brush with your bare feet; whilst some grow in the sections of old cart-wheels, immersed in bath tubs, or in circle formations. If you want to get creative, herbs make a wonderful colourful herbaceous creative paint easel for your garden.
Soil Preparation :
Like all plants, the soil needs to be well prepared prior to planting your herb garden. Don’t fall for the old line of ‘herbs grow anywhere’…they may well, but they will certainly perform a gazillion times better with the right soil. Prep the soil by adding Munash Organics special blend compost Revitalize prior to planting. Herbs really do like healthy, loose/friable neutral to slightly alkaline soil, which the added organic matter will help regulate. Drainage is a must, especially for pots, and once planted ensure you water often, particularly in warmer weather. Fortnightly doses of Munash Organics Renew, our liquid fertiliser, added to the watering can will work wonders to encourage lush leaf growth and make your herbs more flavour-filled. Place mulch around the base of the plant once in the ground, keep well weeded, and add generous fistfuls of Munash Organics Rockdust about once a month to promote an active plant by feeding and balancing your soil with rock minerals.
Snip & Come Again :
Herbs literally love little haircuts often. They will grow better, and be more shapely that way, so even if you aren’t using them for meals, give them a tidy up every now and then. They kinda get out of control quickly, especially after lots of rain. Pop the herbs in your compost if you don’t have a use for them, and can’t pass them onto a neighbour or friend. Or leave them out on your letterbox or central spot like a bus stop for passersby. Random acts of kindness make the world go round.
Consider also, if you have room, to grow herbs near and around other plants for companion planting. Tomatoes and basil, is a great example of the herb bringing out the best in the fruit or veg it is coupled with.
Herbs are pretty amazing. Apart from cooking ingredients, they are also used for decorative floral displays, have a million medicinal purposes, can be used in crafts, and some are delicious to pop in the bath whilst you soak. So ponder well beyond their culinary properties, and consider how much herbs improve our daily life.
Words by Hey Hoe Let’s Grow