If ever there was a great starting point on the GIY journey then it is surely growing your own herbs. They are relatively easy to grow and low maintenance and will save you lots of money from day one. Many a meal can feel homegrown if there are a few fresh herbs from your garden sprinkled on top! Here’s a guide to growing the most popular herbs:
Annuals and Biennials:
Basil: Sow it in pots of compost in March and plant out in the polytunnel or greenhouse in June. Pinch growing tips regularly to produce bushy rather than leggy plants.
Parsley: Sow seed in spring for summer crop and again in autumn to have over winter – but beware, germination is painfully slow, so you might want to buy a little plant instead. It will grow well indoors or out.
Dill: Sow in April, about 20cm apart, direct in the soil. Harvest the leaves as soon as they start to appear.
Rosemary: It likes a sunny spot in the garden and once it takes off you will have a serious crop – so much so that many people use it as a border or hedge. Prune in spring to keep it in check. Probably easiest to buy a small plant of rosemary to plant out in spring.
Thyme: Once you get a crop going, you will never need to buy again, so it’s a good investment to buy a sturdy little plant to put out in spring. Every three years or so divide the plants and re-plant.
Sage: A beautiful shrub with grey-green leaves and blue flowers. A single plant will be enough for most people – plant it in the spring in a well-drained spot and harvest regularly.
Mint: It has really strong, invasive roots, so be careful where you put it or better still, grow it in containers. It will thrive in all but the worst of soils.
Chives: an attractive plant with lovely pink/purple flowers. You can grow from seed in early spring and plant out in early summer; divide the plants every four years or so to reinvigorate.