Herbs For Gardening
When choosing herbs for gardening, there are two distinct groups of herbs to choose from, Mediterranean herbs (climate - hot, dry, and sunny) and Cool climate herbs (climate- cool, damp and shady). The following lists will help to determine which herbs belong to each of these climates, so you will be a expert on each different herbs for gardening.
Mediterranean Herbs: Hot, dry and sunny
(Grey, shrubby foliage)
Cool Climate Herbs
Cool Climate Herbs: Damp, cool and shady
(Green and Herbaceous)
Sweet Cicily (Chervil)
An excellent companion plant for tomatoes both in the garden and the kitchen. Great added to soups (especially tomato), sauces, salads and id s main ingredient in pesto.
Common Basil grows to about 50 centimetres (20 inches) high, with glossy green leaves and a spike of white flowers.
Basil likes full sun, good drainage, and neutral to alkaline pH. Need to protect from frost and too much damp to avoid fungal problems. Pinch out flowers to encourage leaf production.
Start seedlings indoors or ‘grow tunnel’ late in winter, for early spring planting after the last frost.
Bay ‘Laurus Nodilis’
An evergreen tree that requires a sheltered position with adequate drainage. The powerful aromatic leaves are indispensable in the kitchen and are effective for deterring weevils and cockroaches in your kitchen pantry.
Borage is an annual, very hardy, easy to grow, has little blue flowers that attract bees in abundance (great for keeping the destructive bugs away). The flowers add a delightful touch to salads. Can be used to flavour drinks and punches and has a nice cucumber flavour.
Capers ‘Capparis Spinosa’
Likes hot summers in stony soils, will produce flower buds (which are pickled or dry salted) in the 2nd year. Takes 5 years to reach full production and can produce up to 8 kilograms of buds per year.
Chamomile has feathery leaves of the purest green and white daisy-like flowers, can be grown in the sun or semi shade. It is used to make a soothing tea from the flowers.
Chervil ‘Anthriscus Cerefolium’
Chervils ferny foliage has a mild anise and parsley flavour. Bolting (going to seed quickly) in hot dry conditions, it prefers a cool shady position. Pinch out the flowers to extend the harvest. You’ll need to plant every 4 to 5 weeks to get a continuous supply.
Chives Garlic ‘Allium Tuberosum’
Tufts of flat strappy leaves, that produce 7cm flat heads of starry white flowers for months. Garlic Chives are very drought tolerant. The whole plant is edible either cooked or raw.
Chives Onion ‘Allium Schoenoprasum’
No herb garden is complete without this classically delicate plant. All parts of the plant are edible. Always leave 4-5 cm of leaf when harvesting.
Coriander ‘Coriandrum Sativum’
Coriander flavour is the cornerstone flavour of cuisines from Asia and the Middle East. The ferny leaves must be used fresh. Seeds can be fried for spicy dishes and the roots are essential for that hint of Thailand.
Dill ‘Athethum Graveolens’
Dill is finely cut and has feathery blue-green leaves and small yellow flowers. Seeds are sown in spring to summer. Dill prefers full sun, leaves and seeds are ripe for fresh use in summer. The leaves have a pungent, bitter-sweet taste; the seeds can also be used.
Lemon Grass ‘Cymbopogon citrates’
Is a clumping grass, grows well in pots where it can be moved around to suite the warmest frost free and humid position in the garden. To harvest cut the stems at the base just above the soil. Save the leaves for a refreshing tea rich in vitamin A, which is renound to fight fungal and bacterial infections, or tie them in a knot and throw them in the cooking water to flavour rice or vegetables.
Lemon Verbena ‘Aloysia Triphylla’
The Lemon verbena shrub has lemon-scented leaves and needs to grow in a warm sheltered position in full sunlight. The lemony leaves can be used in Pot Pouri or as a herbal tea. Pinch out new shoots to encourage bushy growth and mulch around base in winter to shelter roots from the cold.
There are many varieties of mint available. They spread by runners and therefore are suitable plant for pots or as a ground cover. Each species varies in height from low groundcover to bushes which can reach 1 metre (3 feet) in height. They grow well in moist sunny positions.
Peppermint ‘M. x pipertia’
Dark leaves make the best tea with a rich fruity scent, Peppermint tea taken after meals helps aid digestion.
Variegated Applemint ‘M. sauveolens ‘Variegata’
Very decorative plant in the garden, but also the perfect accompaniment to fruit salads and cool drinks.
Marjoram, Golden Organum vagare “aureum”
Marjoram grows 30 to 40 centimetres (12 to 16 inches) high and has oval leaves with tiny white or purplish flowers. Is a thirsty plant that loves full sun. Mild enough to chop straight into salads, Marjoram is similar to Oregano.
Oregano Greek ‘Origanum onites’
Neat grey-green leaves set off a frosting of white flowers on stems to 60cm (2 feet) in summer. Harvest while in bloom, both leaves and flowers are used. Use in Mediterranean cuisines, (great in spaghetti bol.) it’s a very useful plant when planted with roses and lavender. Cut to the ground when harvesting and prune back in autumn.
Parsley ‘petroselinum crispum P. crispum var neopolitanum’
Parsley is one of the most popular and easiest herbs to grow. Use parsley for its delicate delicious flavour and for its boundless health benefits, it’s good for our blood, its high in iron, vitamin C and potassium. It is best grown as an annual. Curly parsley is the most ornamental but Italian or flat leaf parsley has the best flavour. Harvest sprigs from the outside of the clump to extend supply. Grows to around 30cm x 30cm in spring to summer.
Perilla, ‘Shiso Perilla frutescens ‘Atropurpurea’
Perilla leaf stems and seeds have been used in china since 500 AD. Its antimicrobial qualities have made it important in Asian style pickles and its high levels of linoleic purple acid assist in dissolving cholesterol. The purple leaves have a spicy citrus-mint flavour it is both decorative and delicious. It’s grown just like basil, growing to around 30cm x 30cm all year round in hot frost free climates.
Rosemary ‘Rosmarinus officinalis cultivars’
Green, fragrant, drought tolerant and tasty, Rosemary is the quiet beauty that no garden should be without. Rosemary contains up to 20 antioxidants and is renowned for improving memory. Delicious when added to roast lamb.
Dwarf Rosemary (70cm x 80cm) makes a neat hedge as well as very useful in the kitchen.
(1.5m x 80cm), has long slender stems that can be used to thread kebabs and satays.
Sage ‘Salvia officinalis’
The thick felted, silver-grey leaves of this small shrub are wonderful when used as a border. They love poor soil, have a beautiful mauve flower in spring. Can be used to whiten teeth and strengthen gums. In the kitchen it has a pungent flavour, used to flavour poultry, cheese and bean dishes.
Summer Savoury ‘Satureja Hortensis’
Has a peppery flavour, it’s used to flavour meat dishes, stuffing’s and marinades; especially for olives. Summer savoury has Pink and white flowers.
Tarragon French ‘Artemisia dracunculus’
French Tarragon is perennial that’s used as a ground cover that dies down over winter, cut down old leaf stems in mid-winter, forms well in well-drained soils. It is used often in French cuisines, has a delicate anise flavour that enhances egg, fish, pork and chicken dishes.
True Curry leaf ‘Murraya koenigii’
Evergreen trees that thrive in the tropics and the sub tropics, but also can be grown in the cooler climates were it is deciduous. The ferny leaves are added to Madras style curry to give a warm spicy flavour.
Turmeric ‘Curcuma longa’
Turmeric is used in Indian and Asian dishes and is rich in antioxidants that are especially great for improving brain function, reducing the occurrence of Alzheimer Disease. Ground the leaves from the rhizomes to make a yellow spice. Harvest the rhizomes in autumn when the leaves die down for the best flavour. You can wrap fish in the leaves to cook.
Thyme ‘Thymus spp.’
Thyme is a plant from the sunny slopes of the Mediterranean and is traditionally used in bouquet garni and in meat stuffing’s with sage and onion. They are a creeping bush to fill any sunny spot. The lawn thymes elegantly inhabit edges and gravel pathways, bushing to 36cm with grey-green, or silver and yellow variegation; they are great in pots or dry borders.
Watercress ‘Nasturtium officinale’
Grow watercress in moist garden beds or pots placed in ponds. It doesn’t need to grown in flowing water. Prefers a neutral to alkaline pH. Add some lime if you have acidy soil. Watercress is packed full antioxidants plus iron and iodine. Pinch out flowers to extend harvest. An under-rated, delicious salad green.
Japanese Pepper ‘Zanthoxylum piperitum’
Japanese pepper is a prickly deciduous shrub with leaves that are used in soups and salads. The pepper is derived from the husk of the seed. It’s an ingredient of both the Chinese five spice and the Japanese spice mixture Shichimi and is reported to lower blood pressure.
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