The cook's garden

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As long as they have sun herbs are very easy to grow, and are virtually pest and disease free. A tiny garden is no barrier. Most herbs are ideal for growing in pots and, as decorative as they are useful they make fantastic fillers for any sunny space in the garden.

The rich aromas of rosemary, bay and sage can be enjoyed all year round. And now is the time to enjoy the fresh taste of summer’s annuals. Basil, chervil, chives, fennel, coriander and rocket are perfect compliments to the new seasons potatoes, sweet corn, asparagus, tomatoes, beans, and all that fresh fish.

Herb hints


At the height of summer basil, parsley, mint and other lush annual herbs need regular watering and benefit if they have protection from the hottest afternoon sun. Big leaf basil varieties make the best pesto.


Dry conditions cause plants to bolt to seed too soon. Add lots of compost before planting to help keep the soil moist, or choose generous-sized pots.


Pick herbs often to promote fresh new growth - the tastiest by far. The shorter the time delay between picking and eating herbs, the better their flavour.


Herbs make tasty micro-greens. When herbs like coriander, dill, basil, rocket and fennel go to seed collect it for sprinkling over a tray of potting mix.


An invasive growth habit means mint is best grown in containers or a part of the garden they can take over without creating a problem. Mint tolerates some shade. Cut plants back hard to regenerate fresh clean growth.


Fennel is a versatile herb with several uses. Bulbs and stems can be cooked or finely sliced raw for salads.


Thyme grows all year round, but flowers in summer, bringing colour and the happy buzz of bees. There are numerous varieties, all perfect for pots. Trim often.


Coriander grows best when started in cooler weather, in spring or autumn. It’s long tap root doesn’t like being transplanted so it is best grown it from seed sown directly where it is to grow. Germination is assisted by inverting a pot or tray over the seed until it sprouts, but don’t forget to remove it as soon as seeds have sprouted and keep the soil moist.


Lemon Grass picked fresh is the best there is. In a warm climate with ample moisture, it’s very easy to grow but it demands space and is usually best contained in a pot.


Soak parsley seed overnight prior to sowing. For a continuous supply sow seeds or plant seedlings in spring and again in autumn. The first year’s leaves have the best flavour.


Herb flowers attract beneficial insects. Lavender is one of the best plants for attracting bees, natures industrious pollinators.


Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.



Terracotta pots match well with herbs

herbs coriander
Coriander flowers

herbs thyme
Ground cover thyme

herbs sage
Purple sage

herbs rosemary
Cascading rosemary is great for draping walls and for cooking.