Talk to me about a herb garden please(9 Posts)
I am awful at gardens. Hayfever has always ensured that I have a very limited interest in them.
However I am forever spending money on fresh herbs and I have an empty bed next to our kitchen door so I feel that it makes a lot of sense for me to plant lots of herbs in them.
I'm hoping for some advice on how to make sure they all survive and don't crowd each other please?
I am hoping to plant parsley, chives, rosemary, mint (although I know that has to be separated in a tub because it just grows everywhere) sage, thyme and a bit of lavender. As well as anything else that the garden centre has that I haven't thought of/ that you can recommend.
Thanks in advance for your expertise!
if you have enough patience you can grow on the supermarket potted herbs...usually cheaper to buy than the from the garden centre
Remember a lot of the exciting ones like Basil and coriander are a bit more tender and might not like the climate
Some are perennials ...like rosemary and some will be over and done in a single season like coriander/parsley
Sage is also very vigorous so you might want to separate that too. The woody Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and thyme (and also lavender) hate being too wet and grow best in poor soil - so depending what yours is like you may need to add some grit to make it free draining.
I like oregano or marjoram too. I also had buy an African Bush Basil plant each spring - although not perennial it's much tougher than regular basil and lasts right through till early autumn. Slightly different flavour but I like it, it has pretty little flowers you can eat too. Have never been able to keep regular basil very successfully outside.
Plant coriander as seed where you want it~ has a tendency to bolt if you move it. If it does bolt let it flower and set seed and they you can collect those once they start to dry out. Thyme grows amazingly well in REALLY crap soil- I've got thyme growing between paving on basically just sand. It flowers in summer and as the flowers go over I cut it right back.
There is a lovely book called the complete herb book by Jekka McVicar which might be worth a look before you start.
What way does the herb bed face? As starman said, a lot of herbs like sun, so south-facing really works for things like rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, chives. Parsley and basil are short-term, sun-loving annuals, so you need to keep sowing those. You could also think about growing salad leaves in the bed - these are dead easy to do (you put them straight in the soil) and a few rows will give you salad all summer.
Mint, however, likes a cooler, wetter soil and is best off in a shadier area - put it in a pot, as it spreads like billy-oh otherwise.
To prepare the bed, dig in a bit of compost and shovelfuls of horticultural grit to make the soil free-draining.
Other herbs I think are worth growing: oregano (sun-loving, the bees will LOVE you for it, and it's wonderful on pizza), sorrel (shade-locing, has gorgeous leaves but spreads everywhere - has a vinegar flavour which works well when combined with more neutral salad leaves); hyssop (beautiful, bee-friendly, lovely in soup). If you have space: angelica. You candy the stems, but really the joy of this is in the enormous size it gets to. Expect 8 foot or more!
Any tips on how to organise a herb bed? I'm just about to start planting seeds for mine and I have zero visual sense.
(Oh and in addition to the ones above I'm doing lemon balm in a pot, borage and camomile, and summer and winter savory).
I might have a go at angelica shove - I have bloody tons of space as you know!
What do you guys think about growing the perennial ones from seed? I figured I would start some seeds in the house, sow what I can direct and then if it's a barren wasteland by the end of April go to the garden centre and pick up plug plants.
Thank you all very much for the brilliant advice, will get planting tomorrow!
toomuchtooold- I'm also rubbish at visualising beds- I suppose getting in amongst them to pick the herbs is important so maybe a number of smaller square sections? In that Jekka book I think there are suggestions in the back- well there were in my 25+ year old copy anyway.
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