There’s nothing like fresh basil on your brushcetta or fresh mint in a cold drink.
Growing your own herbs means you’ll have fresh leaves on hand to help your meals taste better, be cheaper to prepare and healthier for your family.
Here are a few of the easiest (which is probably why they are also the most common) herbs to grow:
- Rocket (sun, annual)
- Basil (full sun, grow as an annual over summer)
- Sage (sun, perennial)
- Mint (part shade, perennial)
- Parsley (full sun, grow as an annual)
- Thyme (sun, perennial)
- Chives (sun, perennial)
- Dill (sun, perennial)
Herbs are not set and forget plants though.
If you want them to last, you will need to re-pot them as soon as you get them home and it’s worth splashing out on a good quality potting mix – it will be worth it in the long run.
Wait until after the last frost before planting your herbs.
You will also need to water them frequently (try to avoid wetting the foliage too much as it may promote disease), may need to fertilise and patrol for pests.
Other than that, put them in a sunny spot, sit back and soon you’ll be able to add extra flavour to almost anything you make.
Gardening personality Jason Hodges told domain.com.au that he grows rosemary from cuttings because it’s free.
“The other herbs I grow from seed, whether you buy them or collect them from a plant that’s gone to seed. This is a cheap and easy way to get started,” he said.
“Mint, oregano, parsley and coriander will be stronger if grown from seed in position as they won’t go through the shock that seedlings do when they are transplanted.
“Saying that, seedlings reduce the time they’ll be ready for harvest by six to eight weeks and they are still much cheaper than buying bunches of herbs from the supermarket.”
It is important to remove flowers from your herbs as soon as they start to form, otherwise the plant will direct more energy towards flowers and seeds rather than the leaves. Simply pinch them out.
A common problem with herbs is that they ‘bolt’ to seed early if you don’t use them regularly enough. You can let this happen in autumn when most herbs will be dying off anyway, and collect the seeds to use again next spring.
One way to ensure you use your herbs is to put them right in front of you.
The Royalvkb Herb Garden ($96.90) allows you to put a mixture of herbs in the one place, and the integrated pocket means scissors are always at hand. At about 40cm long, the herb planter works on a windowsill or as a centerpiece on your table filled with herbs for immediate use.
Another option is a kit from Urban Greens ($24.95). They offer everything you need in a box to grow a range of herbs including:
- five Australian seed varieties
- biodegradable seedling pots and soil
- plant markers, recipes and ideas.
The boxes come in several themes including culinary flowers, kitchen herbs, spicy salsa and summer salad.