There are so many amazing reasons to grow your own herbs at home.
• Having fresh, healthy plants inside (and outside) is great way to improve the look, feel and smell of your home.
• You can get creative with pots and labels to make a talking piece or ornament that accentuates your home.
• Be inspired to jazz up your meals and do more home cooking.
• Enjoy eating the incredible flavours you create in the kitchen.
• Wow your guests with beautiful plate garnishes and centrepieces.
• Be healthier with the added nutrients and benefits these little beauties bring to your body.
• Make gifts for friends by re-potting overgrowing plants or taking a herb posy to dinners.
And lastly, growing herbs at home is significantly cheaper and easier than store bought herbs, simply pick as much as you need as you go.
If you are looking to sell your home and are preparing it for sale, I can’t recommend having living plants in your home enough. They brighten up any room instantly, and a well-placed herb garden will have your potential buyers dreaming about what masterpieces they can cook up in your kitchen.
Here are some sure-fire herbs to bring into your kitchen to dress up your home and start living your life well.
Mint grows fast and will flourish in the garden, in a pot or in a container. It smells great and has a sweet, cool flavour, thanks to the natural menthol in the leaves.
Mint is a versatile herb to cook with and is especially well matched to summer dishes. There is the classic mint jelly, making mint the age-old paring with anything lamb. Mint is also a staple for fresh rice paper rolls and light, Asian dishes, both hot and cold. Be sure to include a generous amount of chopped mint in salads, especially fruit salads or watermelon salads for a light freshening taste. For something different place a handful of mint leaves into hot tea or iced lemonade for a soothing buzz that will spirit you away to a far off holiday island. And of course mint is a must have for cocktail hour either as a feature in a mojito or as an exotic garnish.
Grow your mint in a place that gets varied light, it likes a mix of sun and shade and be sure to give each plant a considerable amount of room to grow, around 40cms between them, as they will spread out quickly.
Rosemary is a delightful, warm herb that works beautifully in stews, roasts and soups as well as seasonings. It will also inspire you to get creative with jacket potatoes as this is a nice little topper with Greek yogurt or sour cream, or maybe you’ll try your hand at some homemade rosemary bread or scones.
Rosemary is super easy to grow, and really thrives in hot and dry climates. This desert plant doesn’t require much water or nutrients so best to water infrequently and go easy on the fertiliser. It’s quite tall and wide so it will more likely be an outside herb than an indoor one, although a large pot will still be adequate enough for the plants to grow in.
Coriander leaves (also called cilantro), have a sharp, zesty taste that can be a little like lemon, or lime, however some people hate the taste of coriander and liken it to soap, so taste test this one before you take it on as part of your herb garden.
Both the seeds and leaves are edible and used frequently in Asian and Indian style cooking, especially stir-fries, salads and as a garnish.
Coriander plants love the full sun but the summer months tend to get a bit hot for it. Expect your plants to do well in the cooler months and be a little bare in summer, it’s okay, it’s normal. This little plant goes well in pots and looks and smells amazing in a cluster with other plants, although do make sure you have good drainage as it doesn’t like to have it’s feet wet. Do water your coriander well and provide adequate fertiliser. There are a couple of distinct varieties, try them all!
There’s nothing quite like the passion of basil. It makes sense that basil is so well matched to pasta sauces and dishes of Italy, being such a bold and peppery flavour it goes perfectly with tomato dishes and wine. It is strong, so wait until the dish is almost finished before adding these leaves or they will overpower the other flavours. Try basil with some sliced fresh mozzarella and tomatoes as a brilliant starter or make your own pesto to use for anything from breakfast muffin and sandwiches to simple and yummy pasta.
This is a plant that loves the full sun. Keep it in moist, well drained soil and trim frequently to encourage new growth, so once a branch gets around seven to eight leaves it is time to pick it and use these leaves in your next cook-up or salad!
Most people know lavender as a perfume flower, good for assisting with sleep, however, lavender is not only edible, it tastes subtle and sweet. Of course you can still add it to flower bouquets, potpourri and soaps if you grow your own, but when it comes to the kitchen it’s a must try in sweet dishes like jellies, icing, chocolate brownies, ice-cream and shortbreads, or create a sugar syrup for delicious lavender lemonade.
You can use lavender flowers fresh or dried or maybe try in liquid form by steeping in hot water for 30- 45 minutes.
Make sure your lavender gets loads of full sun exposure and be careful, lavender bushes can grow really big really quickly, so if you want to keep your plant small then you’ll need to trim it back frequently. Either in pots or soil, make sure your lavender is well drained and give it a solid watering once a week. Even if you don’t use it frequently in the kitchen you will love this bush for the colour and scent it brings to your home and garden.
Yes, it’s scratchy on your throat but parsley is amazingly good for you. It’s an outstanding source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and iron. Chop finely and add to pasta, salads, mashed potato, baked cauliflower, cheese sauces and seasonings. It also has a cute, puffy shape that looks great in small pots inside.
Try both varieties, flat leaf and curly. They love the sun so don’t be afraid to keep them on your windowsill. Water and fertilise infrequently.
When you consider all these benefits and add in that herbs are easy to grow, take very little space or effort, you might end up wondering why you didn’t make a start on a herb garden earlier.
So now you have everything you need to make your tastebuds sing so get planting, get cooking and discover a world of vibrant colour and flavour that will make everyone in your family happier and healthier.