Horticulture experts from GardeningExpress.co.uk have offered keen gardeners and chefs alike seven top tips when it comes to growing herbs such as basil, parsley and mint. Herb plants are perfect for gardening beginners as they don’t take up a huge amount of space and can thrive on a windowsill, making them great for flats and houses with limited garden.
‘Unlike some plants, herbs don’t take a lot of time to establish, meaning you won’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits of your labour,’ says a spokesperson from GardeningExpress.co.uk. ‘It can also be a fantastic way to get children involved with the creation of dishes, asking them to go and pick the herbs and perhaps giving them sole responsibility of one of the plants.’
Here are their seven top tips for flourishing herbs.
The closer to the back door you plant your herbs, the more likely you will use them, as you can pop out as and when they’re needed. Herbs need to be watered but can easily be drowned so somewhere sheltered will allow them to thrive.
As with plants, different herbs need different conditions to grow. Some herbs, such as mint and thyme, are perennials, meaning once they’ve been planted, they will die off during winter but will grow back year on year.
Annuals such as basil and coriander will need to be newly planted each year, due to them dying completely come winter.
No matter what container you plant your herbs in, there needs to be a good drainage system. Many herb trays let you put pots with holes on the bottom onto the tray, meaning excess water can drain out. Grow-bags and pots can be moved around the garden, and house, depending on the season and weather.
If you’re planting or growing many herbs all at once, make sure they each have enough space to grow. If they are too close together, parts of each plant will not thrive as well as they could.
If you feel confident, herbs can easily be grown from seeds, but it is easier to re-pot young plants and encourage them to grow – which also lets you see the results quicker.
You’ll be able to tell when your herbs need watering as their leaves will begin to curl and they will look a bit sad. Pots with good drainage systems will ensure herbs aren’t drowned either. Once you get to know each plant you’ll know how much water they need, and how often.
Some herbs will be ready to harvest within a few days, but others may take longer. With many herbs, the more you pick the leaves, the more leaves will grow. Ensuring herbs are well watered will also encourage them to grow more. Make sure you pick the older leaves first to ensure an even plant.