Few things are more satisfying in life than being able to pick your own fresh herbs when you need them. We’ve picked five of our favourite herbs and come up with some top tips to get the best out of herbs from the garden.
Tips for growing basil
Delicious in pesto and tomato-based dishes, basil is easy to grow – all you need is a warm, sunny windowsill. Basil can be grown indoors in pots in a bright spot for most of the year, and also does well outdoors in summer.
- For bushier plants, pinch out the tips of the stems regularly and remove flowers as they appear.
- Put the copper tape around the rims of outdoor pots or use wildlife-friendly pellets to protect basil from slugs and snails.
Tips for growing coriander
A tasty addition to curries and Asian dishes, coriander can be sown indoors in spring in pots filled with compost, or directly outside in summer.
Coriander has an annoying tendency to bolt, i.e. to flower early, set seed, and then die. On the plus side, however, coriander flowers are a magnet for pollinators, and you can collect the small round seeds to cook with or to sow next year.
- To delay the start of flowering, water coriander regularly.
- For a constant supply of coriander leaves, sow more seeds every three or four weeks.
Tips for growing bay
Bay leaves give flavour to soups and stews, and the evergreen shrubs also add structure to herb gardens. A popular choice for topiary, the bay can be clipped to shape in summer.
- Bay grows well in pots but hates sitting in cold, wet soil, so make sure the containers have suitable drainage holes.
- Place pots on pot feet in winter and cold areas, cover plants with horticultural fleece or move containers undercover.
Tips for growing parsley
Delicious on new potatoes, as a garnish, or in sauces, parsley can be sown indoors in pots or outside from early spring to early summer. Unlike many other herbs, parsley will grow happily in part shade.
- Parsley seeds can take up to six weeks to germinate in cold soil, so for faster growth, sow them indoors and place on a sunny windowsill to grow.
- Parsley seedlings transplant better when small, so prick them out and pot on as soon as they have produced two real leaves.
Tips for growing rosemary
An essential ingredient for roast lamb, rosemary needs well-drained soil in full sun. It’s drought tolerant once established but will need watering in hot, dry spells.
- Like bay, rosemary hates having cold, wet roots in winter, so if you’re growing it in pots, make sure they drain well.
- Trim rosemary in spring after flowering to stop it getting leggy.
Growing herbs is one of the most rewarding gardening activities, and we have a wide range available. Visit us to stock up on your favourite herbs.