Herbs can lift a simple dish into something really special, but they’re ridiculously expensive to buy regularly in small packets from the supermarket. Growing your own herbs saves money and makes you feel like a bit of a gourmet.
You can buy whole collections of different herbs for as little as £1, and even if you have no outside space at all they will be happy on a windowsill or in a window box. Just snip some off as and when you need it, and there’s no waste.
The aim at Golightly Gardens this year is to become completely self-sufficient in herbs, and to keep this up all year round. That includes growing outdoors, in the greenhouse and on the kitchen windowsill to extend the growing season. The only exception is lemongrass, which M-Cat helpfully chews to death every time I try to plant some.
Here’s what’s growing outside right now:
From last year, the following plants survived the winter:
- Moroccan tea mint
I bought three small seedling plants that are a nightmare to grow from seed:
- bay tree
- French tarragon (so small it’s hiding under a makeshift glass ramekin cloche in the pic above)
Early outdoor sowings:
- curly parsley
- leaf celery, also called Par-cel
Indoor sowings made in March and April:
- green mint
- Sweet Genovese basil
- Thai / holy basil
- new chives
- lemon balm (old seeds that might not germinate, still waiting…)
End of May outdoor sowings to come:
- flat leaf parsley
To make it a year-round crop, there will have to be a few sequential sowings of coriander and basil, as they tend to go to seed in warmer weather. I’ll try to collect any seeds to use the following year.
Then, in September/October I’ll sow a new batch of soft herbs for the windowsill and the mini-greenhouse. I still have basil and flat leaf parsley plants alive in my kitchen from doing this last year, and hope to expand the range this time around.
Garlic chives or wild garlic are on my wish list too, but the budget pot for herbs is now completely empty. Maybe I will be able to get some in a swap, who knows.
Do you grow your own herbs, or are you thinking about starting? Which ones are your must-haves?