How To Grow Herbs
Herbs are easy to grow in beds, borders, containers, or on windowsills. With our full range of seeds and plants, it’s quite possible to have a year-round harvest, saving you money you might otherwise spend on expensive supermarket produce. Here’s our easy guide to growing your herbs.
Annual or Perennial?
Annual and biennial herbs like basil, coriander, parsley, dill, and chervil are fast growing and best sown at intervals throughout the spring and summer so you’re guaranteed a continuous fresh supply. Perennial herbs like oregano, mint, thyme, sage, rosemary and chives are slower growing and need a more permanent home.
Growing Herbs Outside
Try growing herbs outside in a dedicated herb garden, a raised bed, a vegetable plot or even among the flowers in your borders – the array of different foliage and flower colours available means many herbs are as decorative as they are delicious and medicinal.
Ideally herbs like a sunny, sheltered location with well-drained soil. If you have heavy clay soil then incorporate some coarse grit and organic matter like well-rotted manure or compost to improve drainage. You may also benefit from growing your herbs in a raised bed to ensure sharp drainage.
Many herbs will tolerate a slightly acid soil, but the best pH-level for growing herbs is neutral to alkaline. If you have very acid soil, add some lime when preparing the planting area. Many herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme and lavender grow particularly well in coastal gardens.
Shady garden? Herbs that grow in moist, shady conditions include chervil, parsley, meadowsweet, mint, lemon balm, and chives.
When To Plant Outdoor Herbs
Sow hardy annual or biennial herbs like parsley, coriander, dill, and chamomile from March until August, directly into their final positions. This is especially important for chervil and dill because they’re difficult to transplant. Sow at intervals of three to four weeks to ensure a continuous supply of fresh leaves.
Alternatively, sow most of your herbs under cover in seed trays or modules and plant them out at a later date, according to the instructions on individual seed packets. You can prick out seedlings and grow them on before hardening them off. Plant them out only when all risk of frost has passed. You may find half-hardy basil performs well indoors on a sunny windowsill if the summer is particularly wet or cold.
Sow perennial herbs like sage, rosemary, chives and fennel in the spring, under cover in the warmth, and then pot them on when they’re big enough to handle. Harden off plants in a cold frame before planting into their final positions.
Where To Plant Outdoor Herbs
Growing herbs outdoors in a dedicated herb garden makes harvesting easier and creates a heady scent on hot sunny days. And combining the silver-grey foliage of sage with the blue flowers of borage or the orange flowers of calendula (pot marigold) creates a fragrant ornamental feature made entirely from edible flowers.
If you don’t have the space for a dedicated herb garden, they also make a great addition to flower beds and borders. Go for herbs that contrast with your flowers, and those, like thyme and basil, whose leaves add extra depth and texture to your planting.
For an informal edge to your garden path, try low-growing herbs like chives and thyme. You can also plant thyme and creeping savory in the gaps between paving stones – these tough plants will withstand light foot traffic, releasing their delicious scent whenever someone steps on them.
The tall, feathery foliage of fennel looks great in a herbaceous border, and its yellow flowers are sure to attract to bees and butterflies to your garden.
Sow the herbs you use most directly into the soil between rows of veggies, or as edging to beds. Sown in late summer, herbs like coriander, parsley and chervil will continue to grow throughout the winter as long as you protect them with a cloche.
Pop in today to check out our fantastic range of herbs with a great offer of £1.99 or 3 for £5.