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All About Herbs

Friday, March 14, 2014 @ 06:03 AM

Last night’s #WoolliesAskAlison was all about herbs. The thing I love most about herbs is that they’re linked so intrinsically to cooking!! Garden to kitchen sounds pretty perfect to me!

And you don’t even need a garden! Anyone can grow herbs. With that in mind here are ten of the *best* herbs to grow…

1. Basil

When you think about how much it costs in the shop and the number of different things you can do with it, Basil should definitely be on the list. There are many different varieties to choose from. Sow seeds any time from early spring to summer to ensure a regular supply.

2. Chives

Chives are easily grown from seed, although it does take a bit of time. It’s worth it though because once you get them going they’ll keep for years, dying back in then coming again the following spring.

Thompson and Morgan Chives

Chives have edible flowers – so pretty on a salad or new potatoes

3. Coriander

Easy to grow from seed and has plenty of uses in the kitchen. The only problem with it is bolting, which you can keep at bay by regularly cutting off the top leaves for cooking (don’t cut too low down the stem, or it won’t come back) also, if you let some of the plants run to seed, you can used the seeds in cooking too.

4. Dill

Dill is easy to germinate, very attractive and will happily grow in containers. Add it to anything fishy.

Dill - Thompson and Morgan

5. Mint

There are many different varieties of mint and you can do so much with it, so it’s very rewarding to grow. Grow separately from other herbs though for two reasons: it’s a bit of a brute and it tends to take over and, unlike most other herbs, it likes moist conditions, so keep it well watered if it’s in a pot.

6. Oregano (aka Sweet Marjoram)

It’s easy to grow and it is particularly happy in hot dry conditions. Very good for pasta, pizza and mediterranean dishes generally.

oregano thompson and morgan

7. Parsley

A ‘must have’ in the kitchen, so even though it can take ages to germinate, it will be worth it in the end. It’s a bi-annual, so it will seed and die off in it’s second year. Seed for both the curly and stronger flat leaf varieties are widely available.

8. Rosemary

It’s a woody shrub, but even it you’ve only got a small space it’s still worth growing. If you can, put it in the ground, but it will grow happily in a pot. It likes a light sandy soil and can withstand long periods of drought. A little liquid feed from time to time will help keep it producing plenty of lush, new growth.

9. Sage

We all know sage, as it is traditionally used in stuffings and it is great for that, but it is wonderful in a stew, because it takes quite a while for the flavour to come out in the cooking. Sage likes to grow in a warm, dry place. It is a shrub, so cut it back from time to time to stop it getting woody. 

10. Thyme

It likes a dry, sunny situation and it is fully hardy, meaning it will happily withstand winter frosts.

thyme thompson and morgan

All of these herbs are available in seed form – or plug plants if you don’t want the faff(!) from Thompson and Morgan. In fact, to make your life even easier you can get 6 on the list in one hit with their fantastic herb collection for a very reasonable £11.99! Talk about a  bargain!

What herbs are you going to grow?

One thought on “All About Herbs

  1. Su Burt

    Dear Woolygreen,

    I’ve grown a wide variety of herbs over the years but always seem to return to my old “favourites”. Namely, Sweet Marjoram, Winter Savory, Tarragon, Pineapple Sage, Garlic Chives, Jacob’s Ladder and Mint. The
    Perennials are probably the best value for money.
    I also grow a dwarf rosemary with white flowers which smells bit like aniseed/ divine! It flowers from mid-July to end of September.

    The aromatic thymes are also a delight to grow, and can be done so easily in pots. Also chamomile, both of which smell gorgous when crushed or troddon on. Chamonile also makes a really soothing and pleasant tea.

    Infact some thymes/mints can be grown on paths/patios inbetween paving stones. (corsican mint and the creeping thymes)
    There are numerous sages and mints to grow and I like to “experiment”!
    Variety is the spice of life afterall! There are just so many herbs to choose from and they do not all require a lot of watering. Bees and Butterflies love them too. Infact many insects are attracted to aromatic plants/herbs.

    The one herb which I have never managed to grow really sucessfully in pots is Coriander. It always seems to bolt and die. If anyone has any successful growing hints and tips I would greatly appreciate that.

    Nearest to home I’ve seen Wild Thyme growing in Derbyshire and it always inspires me! Sort of a touch of the Med in Blighty. I always think it a bit strange that it grows here at all. Seems far too wet and cold with the exception of South West Cornwall, parts of Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Just goes to show the wide biodiversity of this Country!? Also the climatic deviations are really quite marked in places with the rainshadow effect in the lee of hills, creating microclimates and around the coast.

    Anyway whatever you grow, enjoy it and nurture it with TLC!


    PS – I use Baby Bio for Herbs to feed them.


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