Herbs are such useful plants to have in your garden. They add extra taste to food and they look great. You do not have to grow herbs in a separate part in your garden, although a separate herb garden can be very attractive. Herbs also look good in flower beds or even in the vegetable patch. You should try to keep your herbs near your kitchen door. It’s much easier to pick them when it is raining. Most herbs can be grown in pots, so you don’t even need to have a garden to grow them.
Today I have sown a number of herb seeds.
The first one is Thyme: Old English.
I have chosen the variety Old English It is a neat plant with low cushions of aromatic leaves and mauve flowers in the summer. So it looks good in the flower or rockery as well as in pots on the patio. It is a hardy perennial, so the plant will increase in size from year to year. Thyme is lovely cooked with roast meats. It also has good antiseptic properties.
I sowed the seed on the surface of compost in a seed tray and covered it with vermiculite.
Next to be sown is Chives.
They are part of the onion family and in fact the leaves smell strongly of onion when you touch them. You use the leaves but they are not as strong a flavour as onions and can be used raw in salads, sandwiches on in baked potatoes.You can also eat the round mauve flower-heads which appear during the summer. Because of their smell, chives are useful to grow next to carrots as part of your deterrent to carrot root fly. If grown next to roses, they also help to control rose black spot. altogether a very useful plant. They look good too.
I sowed them on the surface of compost in a seed tray and covered with vermiculite.
Chives grow into tiny bulbs which can become overgrown, so every two years or so, you need to dig them out and split the plant up so that they are thinned out.
Next up to sow was Sage.
Sage is an evergreen plant which gets quite large. If you do not cut it down it also gets very woody. I find the plant very tactile. It has textured aromatic leaves and, if allowed to develop, mauve blue flowers. It is used with meat and to make stuffings (remember sage and onion stuffing). It is also good at repelling cabbage butterflies so you could plant it near your cabbages.
Every little helps! I sowed the seed on the surface of compost in a seed tray and covered it with vermiculite.
Basil is a herb used quite a lot with tomato dishes, it stops the ‘tinny’ flavour you can sometimes get when cooking tomatoes and has a subtle flavour of it’s own. If you grow it close to tomatoes it improves the flavour of the tomatoes and it also helps to deter white fly. I sowed the variety ‘sweet green’ which is a half hardy annual, so I will be doing the same sowing next year. Like the rest of the herbs, the seed was sown on the surface of compost in a seed tray and covered with vermiculite.
I like lavender and today I have sown French Lavender seed. You have to be very patient waiting for it to germinate – it can take up to 5 months. It is worth the wait because the plant has lovely flared pink flowers and aromatic silvery foliage. It is a hardy perennial, so once planted it’s there for a good long time. Like all the other seeds I sowed today, this was sown on the surface of compost in a seed tray and covered with vermiculite.
The reason for sowing seeds on the surface of compost is that they germinate better with the light on them. However, they are likely to be disturbed when you water them, so vermiculite is used to cover them. This does not exclude the light and protects thm from spraying.