How To Grow Herbs
If you only grow one edible crop-make it herbs! It’s easy and they have a more intense flavour. Many need little attention and with their colourful aromatic foliage, and sometime attractive flowers, they are ideal not just in dedicated herb gardens but also in flower pots and beds.
Where To Grow Herbs
A number of garden herbs original from the Mediterranean and love growing in free draining soil in full sun. There are also herbs that prefer moister conditions and will tolerate some shade. Parsley, mint and chives fall into this group and produce the lushest growth in soil that has been improved in plenty of organic matter. Whether you are planning a herb garden or simply experimenting with one or to varieties , these requirements are worth baring in mind.
Herbs do well in containers in fact, if you have heavy soil they are likely to grow better in free –draining compost than they do in the ground. Make sure that all pots have plenty of drainage and a layer of crocks at the base of the pots to further improve the drainage. Pots can be placed closer to kitchen doors so that when you want to add an aromatic flourish to your cooking you can step straight outside and pick what you want.
Planting and Maintenance
The simplest plants to grow in the ground are perennials, such as sage and marjoram. Once in the ground, they’ll flourish year after years with minimal attention. Most perennials benefit from cutting back in summer, after flowering, as this helps to keep the plant compact and encourages a fresh flush of growth that is ideal for picking.
Mint another perennial has shoots that spread just below the soil surface, which slows it to rapidly become invasive. To help prevent this plant mint in sunken pots and regularly remove any escaping shoots.
Basil and coriander are annuals which flower in their first season and then die. They must be grown from seeds each year. Sow every 3-4 weeks from spring onwards so that you have a continuous pick throughout the summer.
Biennial herbs such as parsley, flower in their second year but any biennials that you use frequently are best sown every year in the same way as annuals.