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Create a kitchen garden: herbs

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Now is the perfect time to start a kitchen garden.

Whether you’re a green-fingered expert or a gardening novice, herbs are an easy and useful thing to have to hand to make home-cooked dishes even more delicious.

They’re also compact, so you can experiment in a large outside space, or a small balcony.

 

Chives

A delicious evergreen herb that will come back year after year. The slim, elegant dark green leaves can be snipped with scissors and used as an addition to salads, soups, stews and curries. The pale mauve pom-pom like flowers, which are also edible and look wonderful when sprinkled over a summer salad, are produced in early summer.

Position: full sun

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: March to May

Harvest: July to September

 

Rocket

Rocket stays true to its name, shooting out of the ground in no time – you’ll be picking your first delicious peppery leaves within a matter of weeks. You can keep picking the large, lobed leaves as a cut-and-come-again crop over a long period; they look gorgeous picked young, adding a spicy edge to mixed leaf salads. The flowers are edible too and look great as a garnish.

Position: full sun or partial shade

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: April to August

Harvest: May to October

 

Dill

A particularly fine-flavoured variety of dill that’s well known for its generous leaf production, selected to produce more foliage before running to seed than most. Dill provides a delicious flavouring to pickles or with vegetables, salads and fish dishes, and the pretty, feathery foliage looks at home anywhere in the garden, making a lovely foil to your flowers. If it is allowed to flower, then these can be eaten too. They have a similar flavour to the leaves.

Position: full sun

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: April to May

Harvest: June to September

 

Rosemary

A shrubby evergreen, with highly aromatic leaves that are traditionally used for flavouring meats including lamb, pork and chicken. A wonderful addition to the kitchen garden, they also make fine ornamental plants and can be grown as a low, informal hedge – ideally where you can brush past them and release their delicious scent.

Position: full sun

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: Sept to Oct or March to May

Harvest: May to July

 

Coriander ‘confetti’

An unusual and extremely attractive ‘feathery’ herb with a slightly sweeter but distinctive coriander flavour and aroma, which can also be grown indoors all year round.

Position: full sun

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: all year round

Harvest: all year round

 

Basil

A vigorous plant with large, scented, bright green blistered leaves. This variety is only found in Naples and is highly prized for its flavour.

Position: full sun, sheltered and warm or a sunny windowsill

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: indoors – February to April (for earlier crops); outside – March to July (when the air temperature is above 10C).

Harvest – June to October

 

 

 

 

 

 

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