How to Grow Herbs
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Fresh herbs are the easiest way to add flavour, aroma and colour to your favourite dishes and meals.
Not only are herbs great in culinary dishes, they also provide natural medicinal remedies, and are the source of many classic fragrances. Most herbs are very easy to grow and do not require a lot of space, which makes them the perfect plant for children and starter gardeners. Herbs can be grown in small pots on the windowsill, or in pots around the patio where they can be easily accessed from the kitchen. Herbs add beauty, colour and texture to the garden so include them in the flower or vegetable garden as well. Some herbs are also a fantastic natural deterrent to unwanted insects which is perfect for the organic gardener.
Most herbs require good drainage to encourage lush growth and generally prefer soil of a gravelly nature. With the addition of compost you will be rewarded with a bounty of herbs to pick from. The great majority of herbs prefer sunshine, low humidity and evenly distributed rainfall. With regular watering and mulching you’ll prevent them from drying out.
Small leaved varieties generally come from the Mediterranean, so they thrive best in open sunny positions and protection from cold winds. Aromatic herbs prefer to be grown in a more sheltered position.
Herbs produce better if they are regularly trimmed which will promote a bushier plant. Regular replacement of plants that have lost their vigour ensures that you have a full plant to pick from and can simultaneously discourage disease. Leafy herbs should be harvested just before the plant flowers, when the concentration of aromatic oils is high. Roots should be harvested in winter when the plant is dormant.
Herb Garden Maintenance
Many herbs are easy to grow and do not attract many pests, but watch out for the following usual garden pests.
Aphids can sometimes quickly infest many garden plants; they are best controlled using Grosafe Enspray 99 Oil.
Slugs and Snails can be an issue, especially while your herbs are young and fresh. We recommend Tui Quash regularly to keep these pests under control.
Caterpillars can also be a problem in warmer months, use Grosafe Organic Natural Caterpillar Control.
Whitefly can sometimes build large populations quickly, especially on Mint, spray using Grosafe Enspray 99 Oil.
Most diseases that affect herbs tend to take hold when climate conditions are perfect for this to happen. Be wary of wet conditions, especially during warm temperatures with little air movement as this is when there is the most risk of disease. Your friendly, local Palmers staff can help identify problems and recommend suitable remedies, but here are a few of the most common.
Mildew and botrytis are types of mould that are best controlled using regular sprays of Grosafe FreeFlo Copper.
Phytophthora and other root disease can spread through gardens during wet conditions. Prevent problems by planting your herbs in free draining soil and on mounds to keep plants from water logging. The addition of Trichoderma granules to the garden soil can also help.
Herb olive oil ice cubes
Here is a handy cooking trick, from garden to table. This is a great way to enjoy your favourite herbs without letting them go to waste. All you need is a big handful of your favourite herbs, olive oil and an ice cube tray. Chop your herbs into medium sized pieces. Fill the ice cube tray with your chopped herbs. Pour the olive oil into each cube, leaving a little room at the top (they will expand when freezing) then place in the freezer overnight. Pop out an ice cube and put it into your saucepan. Start cooking! This is a great way to infuse recipes with fresh flavours long after the season is over.
Palmers’ herb range is a wide group of favourite varieties grown for best performance and top taste. Here is our list of top ten herbs for your garden:
Parsley – The ultimate garnish
Basil – An Italian favourite with a sweet scent, match with tomatoes
Coriander – Great in so many Asian dishes as well as salads, soups, and salsas
Mint – So cool! Make fresh sauces, teas and garnish cold drinks
Rosemary – An intense pine flavour and great on grilled meats, especially lamb
Thyme – Fantastic in any food, it pairs particularly well with lamb, poultry and tomatoes
Oregano – Best in tomato dishes like pizza and pasta
Chives – A mild onion flavour, chop fresh into any dish
Dill – Sharp tasting with a feathery texture. Perfect with fish or try in sauces and pickles
Sage – A popular poultry and meat seasoning, use fresh and dried.
Enjoy your favourite herbs fresh out of the garden, dried and crumbled into any dish or preserve in ice-cube trays, ready to use in sauces and stews.
This ‘How To’ Guide has been produced to provide basic information and our experienced staff are available to answer any questions that you may have. Because this guide is of a general nature, neither Palmers nor its staff are responsible for the application of the information, as the contents may need to be modified for individual projects and site applications.