Growing Herbs

Fresh Herbs at your finger tips.

 

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Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen Garden.

Aromatic  and decorative

Feverfew
            Traditionally  used as a highly  effective  medicine  to lessen the pain of arthritis and migraine,  the aromatic leaves of feverfew are dried  and made  into tea. However, this plant is so versatile that it can also be used as a moth deterrent, while  the pretty, white chrysanthemum-like flowers  with their distinctive  scent are added  to pot pourri. Feverfew is an extremely  easy plant to grow. Sow seeds in a seed tray  in early  spring or outdoors in situ in mid-spring. Feverfew can also be propagated  by division and stem  cuttings, and will self seed freely. It likes  full sunshine.
Tarragon for a delicate flavour:  Tarragon  thrives in well-drained, frost-free and sunny sites. They need  protection at their crown from excessive winter rain. Plant them out into the ground  in spring when all danger of frost is past, or grow them  in large planters. Although they have small yellow flowers,  they rarely appear, nor do they set seed in cool climates. It is best to propagate by taking cuttings  in spring or early summer.
Winter and summer  savory: Summer  savory is an annual that is often grown with broad  beans. The beans are delicious cooked with summer savory and the plant is said to deter aphids from attacking  the bean plants. Winter savory can be used  in a similar  way. It is a hardy perennial  and provides good flavour in winter.
Use sorrel like spinach:  Sorrel is a hardy  perennial whose large leaves  can be lightly  cooked and used in the same way as spinach. The lemony young  leaves  can also be added  raw to salads or as a tasty addition to savoury white sauces.  Common  sorrel Rumex acetosa  may be too invasive so you may prefer to grow the ground-covering  buckler leaf sorrel  (R. scutatus), with silvery green shield-shaped  leaves. Sorrel  grows well in partial shade in well-drained soil.
Popular parsley:  Iron-rich  parsley is a must in any vegetable garden. There are many varieties of curly and flat-leaf  parsley.
  • Flat-leaf  parsley  has  the most flavour.  A good one to try is the variety 'Giant Italian'.
  • Curly-leaf  parsley  such as 'Moss  Curled', is less aromatic than flat-leaf parsley but very tasty with a crunchy  texture.
Sow  seed into trays in the greenhouse  in spring or in the ground  when the soil has warmed  up. It takes  a while to germinate, but germination  is not difficult.
Keeping parsley to use later:  Parsley stores  and freezes  well. To keep it for a few days without freezing, wash and place  in the refrigerator in an airtight  box.  To freeze parsley,  wash it, pat dry with kitchen  towel and put it whole  in plastic bags in the freezer.
When you use frozen parsley,  simply  crumble  it into the dish or pot before it thaws out. Running  to seed Parsley is a biennial,  and in its second year it sends  up flowering stems and produces seed. To make sure you have parsley for cutting, sow in succession  every  year.
When the plants go to seed, it is best to dig them up and use the space for other plants.
Sweet cicely:  A relatively  large  plant with feathery, fern-like foliage,  this stately herb grows to a height of over a metre. It is hardy  and, once established,  will thrive in most conditions. Its freshly picked leaves  with their lovely  aniseed aroma and slightly sweet taste are ideal for flavouring and sweetening desserts.  The seeds are also tasty and were once used to freshen  and sweeten breath. They were also used as sweets in Tudor times, hence the name,  sweet cicely.
Scented lemon balm:  Although it smells of lemon, lemon balm is botanically close to mint and its leaves  have a soothing effect  when rubbed on insect  bites  or nettle stings.  It is also used to flavour sauces for chicken and fish and in herbal teas.
  • Lemon  balm is a perennial  that makes  a strong clump  in cool,  damp soil and can be invasive. Plant a root fragment  or a small pot plant. It will seed itself  readily.
  • If you have planted  the variegated form and then allowed  it to seed,  only  green-leaved  plants will appear,  as it does not come  true  from seed.         
 
Did You Know

Aromatic  and decorative

             Growing a selection  of herbs will add colour to your vegetable garden,  and bring traditional  tastes  to your table.

sage-in-a-kitchen-garden
Sage  (Salvia  officinalis  Tricolor)   Sage needs warm  sun to develop the oils  that provide  its distinctive flavour.
Lemon  verbena  (Aloysia triphylla)   Their  scented  leaves and tiny flowers make  these  old-fashioned  shrubs a real delight.
lemon verbena in a kitchen garden
Borage in a garden bed
Borage (Borago  officinalis) Bees  love  the blue  flowers of borage,  whose  young  leaves emit a cucumber  fragrance.
Camomile (Chamaemelum  nobile)  You  can make tea with the lovely  flowers of this  mat-forming  evergreen  perennial.
Camomile in a kitchen garden
Peppermint in a garden bed
Peppermint  (Mentha piperita) No garden  should  be without mint,  and this variety has a particularly  good  flavour.
Purple  basil (Ocimum  basilicum  'Rubin') Grown  as a half-hardy annual, basil is fie quintessential  Mediterranean  herb.
Purple  basil  in a kitchen garden
 


Orris.
orris in garden
lf you plan to make your own pot pourri,  then you must grow orris.  Its thick rhizome,  if left to dry then ground up, makes a fantastic  fixative for all the perfumed flowers, petals and leaves  of that mixture, ensuring that their aroma  remains undiminished  even months later, Harvesting  orris is a long term project. The rhizomes should be a minimum of three years  old before  being harvested,  then they should be left for a couple of years  to dry out before being ground up. Propagate by division  in the spring or autumn.
Southernwood
 
cotton lavender in garden
Southernwood  - also known by its alternative common names  of Lad's love and Old man - has lovely  leathery, silver green leaves  and is not dissimilar  in looks  to cotton lavender.
The distinctive leaves  have a fantastic  sweet  lemony  aroma  and can be used in pot pourri  or as a very effective  insect  repellent  and antiseptic. This  herb is hardy  and semi evergreen,  and as a fairly compact, bush-forming  sub-shrub  and makes  an excellent  low hedge.  Southernwood  prefers  a sunny  site, having originated in southern Europe. It produces clusters of small, yellowish  flower heads  in late summer. Southernwood  is propagated  from softwood  cuttings,  taken  during the summer,  and also from woody  cuttings,  taken  in the autumn.

  
 
 
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