Herbs have been prized for thousands of years as they are often both beautiful and fragrant as well as useful for cooking, medicine and beauty. They are also ideal for growing in small spaces, even renters in tiny studios can squeeze in a little kitchen garden. Here are some tips to create one which works for you.
Decide if you are going to grow outdoors or indoors.
Many herbs can be grown successfully outdoors, even in colder climates, the key is to ensure that they are placed so that the whole plant can make the most of the available sunlight. On the other hand, growing herbs indoors has the advantage of keeping the plants physically close to the kitchen and makes it possible to grow species which need more sheltered conditions. It also provides natural decoration for a house as well as a lovely fragrance to enjoy.
Decide how much space you can use.
Feel free to get creative and think outside the window-box. Look at walls and even the ceiling. A great solution for small rental flats is to attach an old-fashioned laundry rack to the ceiling using removable hooks. This is unlikely to support a full load of wet clothes but can be a great place to grow herbs. Removable hooks can also be used to hang planters on walls. A display of a variety of herbs together can be used as an eye-catching decoration or they can be spread throughout a home to make the most of the available space. The only requirement is that they are positioned so that they can receive plenty of light, natural or otherwise.
Decide on which herbs you need and/or want most.
It’s generally best to start with three to five varieties and then expand as you learn. Mint and lavender are both good choices for beginners as they are easy to grow and have a variety of uses both in cooking and elsewhere. Mint is very vigorous and can easily take over a space if left to its own devices, so it’s a good choice for growing in a container, even outdoors. There are plenty of choices for the rest including basil, bay sage, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary and parsley. It should be noted that bay is a tree, albeit a small one, and therefore may be unsuitable for the very smallest spaces.
Plant out your garden!
If planting outdoors loosen the soil and check if you need to improve drainage, e.g. by adding compost. It’s best to plant in the morning or evening so that the plants have a chance to bed in before the heat of the day. If planting in containers, use good-quality soil and containers which are large enough to give the plant plenty of space to grow. Allow plenty of room for drainage (create extra holes if necessary or add stones to the base). It’s a good idea to label your plants, at least to begin with.
Grow and harvest.
Most herbs benefit from pruning, but requirements vary so check the internet for advice on the herbs you grow. Generally speaking you want leaves rather than flowers so pinch off any buds as soon as you see them. Give the plant plenty of time to mature before you harvest and harvest at most a third of the plant at any one time, then allow it to grow back before harvesting again.
Best Herbs for your Winter Herb Garden
It’s best to take a closer look at some of the fantastic herbs that work well in the winter time and can really be of benefit to your kitchen herb garden.
- Chives – great for growing indoors during the winter, chives offer a mild onion flavour and complement a wide range of different foods.
- Oregano – another fantastic herb, oregano is a staple in Italian households and can be used with a wide range of different flavours.
- Rosemary – Rosemary can be grown outside or inside as it’s a very hardy plant. The flavours go very well with lamb and is a fantastic plant for growing indoors.
- Thyme – complements most meats and foods and can be a wonderful accompaniment with stews, as well as crockpot meals.
- Parsley – Adds fresh flavours to meals and also colour. It’s fantastic with roasts, grills and other meats.
If you want to discuss particular needs such as a winter herb garden with us then please do. We love hearing about our customers projects and needs and would be delighted to discuss how to incorporate them.
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