The all-year-round herbs are still doing their thing, this is basically sage and rosemary in my garden. But now that summer is almost here, it’s time to increase the range with some of the more tender herbs.
Cooking is so much better with fresh herbs, they lift the most ordinary dish into something much more special. They grow happily in pots so they can be kept in a sunny spot near the kitchen door, this also makes them perfect for balconies and window-sills.
Growing your own means not relying on expensive, short-lived supermarket herbs, and it’s all part of sustainable gardening, I don’t know about you, but this makes me happy.
So far, I’ve planted a variety of different types of thyme plants.
Next on the list is mint:
The fresh growth times perfectly with new potatoes, it’s nice to make peppermint tea with fesh leaves, and of course mojitos. I’ve planted 3 different types in a big pot:
Basil mint Mentha x Piperata Citrata:
mint with a twiste of basil as you might expect, good for using with pasta and make pesto.
Black peppermint (Menthe piperita):
the strong minty flavour makes this one perfect for mint tea.
Curled spearmint (Menthe spicata):
all-purpose, from mint, puddings tea and mojitos.
Plant as for other herbs:
- stand them in water for an hour or so before planting
- mixing grit and loam-based compost with multi-purpose compost so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly
- mint has a thug-like growth, so I’m keeping them separate in their own pots
- unlike many other herbs that originate in Mediterranean countries, mint prefers part-shade
Remember to water them regularly, even if it’s rained because rain doesn’t always get through all that leafy foliage, although they don’t like being waterlogged.
Most mints have lovely, small lilac flowers in summer, and they’re excellent souce of nectar for bees. They’ll all have to be released and planted in individual pots at the end of the summer, meanwhile here they are being useful and looking pretty.
More on planting herbs here.
all photos: Jill Anderson