I love fresh herbs. The zing and flavour they give to almost every dish can’t be compared and I get a little anxious if I don’t have any around to cook with.
However, buying fresh herbs can be expensive, and it can be really annoying to buy a massive bunch of parsley, basil or whatever, when you only need a few sprigs, then have to watch it wilt in the fridge.
Which is why, even when I’ve lived in the smallest of apartments, I’ve always tried to grow my own. There is something so satisfying to be able to snip in a sprig of thyme, or to add a sprinkle of parsley that you have just picked. A little touch of freshness can really elevate even the plainest dish, and can even liven up pre-packed or re-heated food.
So, which are my 6 go-to herbs that I always grow ?
Thyme comes in many different varieties. There are hardy creepers, small bushy types, and more tender annual thymes. I like the hardier types as they can still be picked & used mid-winter. I seem to use thyme in almost everything, it lends a fresh yet woody note to loads of vegetables & has a particular affinity with mushrooms, which I adore.
Rosemary is brilliant to grow, you can grow it in a pot, or plant it out & let it become a bush. It’s a pretty addition to any garden plus has little purple flowers that bees seem to love. As it’s evergreen, you’ll always have some to hand, even in the deepest depths of winter, always a bonus in my book!
Plant chives once in a pot or in a bed & they spring back up again, year after year. Chives are a fabulous addition to salads, as a tangy garnish or added into savoury fritters and dressings. They also have pretty pale violet flowers that are a lovely addition to a summer salad.
(you would think I have a pretty picture of some chives to add here. But, sadly not.)
Parsley is easy to grow, either from seed, or buy a pot from the supermarket & re-pot into the ground or a bigger pot with some good compost. I planted some out recently into the edges of our tomato patch & it’s done brilliantly, in dreary old Blighty traditional curly parsley does particularly well, growing in a sunny spot all the way through winter.
Sage is also easy to grow from seed. It’s a perennial, so start it one year, and let it flower the next. Bees love the blue flowers, plus with the silvery foliage it looks so pretty. I love it when herbs are decorative and tasty too!
I like to grow basil in a pot on my windowsill, however until recently haven’t had much luck growing it outside. Last year however, I planted out into our tomato patch a pot from the supermarket & it has done really well. I also planted some finissimo basil from seed, along with some parsley in a big terracotta pot. The trick is to make sure the weather is well and truly warm before attempting to plant, it likes a bit of heat & sun. I’ve tried starting both basil & parsley off in the greenhouse, but it doesn’t really work for some reason.
Other herbs I love having around for flavour, but don’t grow all the time:
Oregano- for the warmth of the Mediterranean, to be honest though, I find dried just as good.
Dill- I love its fragrent frondyness in our garden, but it’s flavour isn’t for everyone.
Coriander- I’m HOPELESS at growing this so tend to buy supermarket grown pots. I’m going to keep trying however.
Taragon- I love the smell of this, but to be honest, always forget to use it. Must Try Harder.
Let me know in the comments which are your favourite herbs, and why xx