Growing your favourite herbs at home is easier than you think!
Growing herbs is for all levels of gardeners and home-cooking enthusiasts. Nothing compares to the taste of adding fresh herbs to your dishes.
Herbs are versatile in all types of cooking and drinking – they make an excellent addition to oils, fresh salads, and veggies and meats (roasted or grilled).
Growing Tips for Herbs
You can start herbs from seed in late March inside your home in propagation trays or sow the seeds directly into the ground in May. You can also buy plants that are already potted and ready for harvesting.
Plant herbs in an area that has good air circulation and a minimum of four to six hours of direct sunlight. They prefer moist, well-drained soil. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely between watering. We love to use Urban Garden Container Mix in herb gardens. It’s approved for organic use, reduces watering frequency because of the coconut husk fibre content which retains water and is enriched with compost to enhance natural growth.
Tip: Keep the herb garden within reach. Harvest often – the more you pick, the more you’ll get!
Apply one or two applications of Parkwood® All-Purpose 20-20-20 diluted in water are sufficient for the growing season. Herbs that are over-fertilized grow too quickly and flavour isn’t as strong.
If you have noticed insects, spray with Insecticidal Soap. It’s non-toxic and doesn’t leave residue or flavour.
Looking for some inspiration? Read our top five homegrown herbs.
Harvest fresh herbs as often as you need them. Making a marguerite pizza? Grab that fresh basil. Grilling chicken or pork? Rosemary pairs perfectly. Want to spruce up your water? Infuse it with mint or lemon balm.
You can also dry herbs by tying stems together in bunches and hanging them upside down in a dry, warm spot out of direct sunlight where air circulates freely. Leave them for a few weeks, until the leaves are brittle. Pick off the leaves, put in airtight bags or jars, and store them in a dark, dry place.
Avoid crumbling the leaves until you’re ready to cook with them. Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavour than fresh!
If you are harvesting at the end of summer, consider freezing herbs. Basil, lemon balm, parsley, tarragon, chives, and lemon verbena, all freeze well. Pick them the same way as for drying, rinse them quickly in cold water, and shake dry. Chop the leaves coarsely, place them in Ziploc bags, and store in the freezer. These will last 4-6 months before they dry out and lose their essence.
Click here to read more gardening tips for herbs.