Grow your own herb garden

Few things are more satisfying than snipping herbs from your own garden to add the final touch to a dish. Fresh herbs contain more colour, flavour and nutrients than dried ones, and growing them yourself is the best way to guarantee extra freshness and flavour.

Most herbs originate from the Mediterranean area and require sunny and warm conditions to grow. The soil should be well-drained, light and not too fertile. This can be achieved by mixing the soil with some lime and grit. If your garden is shadier and more humid, you can choose chervil, sweet cicely, lovage or parsley, which all prefer fertile, moist soil in a half-shady location.

It’s a good idea to separate perennial herbs, like lavender, mint, chive, thyme and rosemary, from annual herbs, like basil and dill. By planting them in separate areas, you’ll avoid harming the roots of the perennials while preparing and digging the soil in the spring.

If you want to sow your herbs from seeds, basil, dill and chive are good choices. Rosemary, lavender and sage germinate and grow slowly, so it may be wiser to buy those as ready plants. Make sure that the plant is in a good condition, the soil inside the pot moist, and the roots white and fresh.

Prepare the soil using nursery tools and dig a hole with the help of a trowel. Place the plant in the hole and cover the surface with new soil. After planting, water the plants regularly for a few weeks. When the plants have rooted, you can start to cut your crop and spice up your cooking with fresh herbs.

Many herbs have beautiful flowers that taste as great as they look. Try adding the white flowers of Chinese chive to salads for a decorative and delicious finish.

Pruning your herb garden will help make it even more luscious. If your herbs yield more produce than you’re able to enjoy immediately, dry and freeze some for later use.