Planters of herbs

Just like Rachel Khoo and her Parisian window box of herbs I’ve been growing herbs in the garden for a good few years. I love using herbs in cooking, but fresh herbs can be quite expensive to buy so by growing them it means we are saving money and I have my own little patch of the garden while Hubs concentrates on the rest of the fruit & veg. Another advantage is that herbs need little maintenance. As anyone who grows herbs will tell you, even a harsh winter and drought won’t kill the resilient mint & rosemary. The herbs are always the first to spring to life in our garden after winter. We grow all our herbs in containers. This helps to keep the plants under control as certain herbs like mint and borage can go a bit mad if left to their own devises.

Over the years I’ve grown different herbs from the beautiful borage to various types of thyme and basil, but due to limited space I’ve settled on the four most used herbs in my kitchen. Chives, thyme, rosemary, mint. Boring – maybe, but practical? – yes.  These herbs have an additional benefit, like may herbs they sometimes produce tiny flowers. These flowers can be eaten too and have a similar taste to the herbs. I love using chives as it is so versitile and great for giving a subtle onion tastes to food. I really like it in mash or jacket potato.

Even though I’m a big fresh herb fan I’m not against dried herbs in the slightest. When I’m too lazy to walk down the garden or during the depths of winter when the herb pot looks a bit desolate dried herbs can still pep up a dish. Next time you make roast potatoes just before you are about to roast them, sprinkle the potatoes with a tablespoon of dried mint. It really does transform the essential Sunday roast accompanyment. However some herbs just work better fresh. Chives, coriander and parsley. Coriander, just doesn’t grow well in my garden so with this herb, of which I use quite a bit of, I have to end up buying fresh. Just wash, pat dry and then freeze in a bag. I then use coriander directly from the freezer. Of course not the best if being used in salads, but perfect for use in hot dishes like curry and stir fry.

In our next house I’m hoping to expand the herbs I grow with the wild garlic Mat Follas kindly sent me along with bay, parsley, borage and something more exotic. What herbs do you grow?

Here is some recipes on the blog that contain herbs:

Courgette & Feta Fritters (Also work well with chives instead of mint)
Hogget & Mint Pasties
Focaccia
Lamb, Pistachio & Mint burgers
Veggie Burger
 

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

8 thoughts on “Planters of herbs

    Patrick George

    (April 23, 2012 - 3:25 pm)

    Mint and chives flourish here in Finland; even under two feet of snow and temps of minus 20. To my surprise parsley also survives, although it’s better to plant fresh as it goes to seed in the second year. Rosemary is too tender, but grows well on the windowsill.

      Jules

      (April 28, 2012 - 10:44 am)

      My chives were the first to appear this year, though I swear there is double the amount of plants than there was last year!

    Jayne

    (April 23, 2012 - 7:34 pm)

    Nice post! I love herbs too. I grow chives, thyme, oregano which come back each year. Then I also grow basil and sorrel each summer. Never tried borage before, what do you use that for?

      Jules

      (April 28, 2012 - 11:07 am)

      I use borage mostly in salads & drinks. It works really well in summer drinks like Pimms. I sometimes freeze them in icecubes to drop in drinks.

    Janice

    (April 23, 2012 - 8:36 pm)

    I have several kinds of mint, chives, rosemary, a couple of thyme plants, marjoram, sage and flat leaved parsley. My herbs are just beginning to come to life and get to the stage where I feel I can cut into them without doing damage. We are still having frost in the morning so have to be careful.

      Jules

      (April 28, 2012 - 11:08 am)

      I want to grow a larger selection of mint because their tastes can be so diverse. Which mints do you grow?

    valentina | cucinaecantina

    (May 23, 2012 - 8:31 am)

    I bought 2 pack of 3 different herbs for my home at Ikea, really nice and usefull. I cant live without fresh herbs in my home, I use it everywhere in my recipes, my fav is basil (of course, I’m Italian) and thyme, unfortunately I’m also a plants serial killer, and they die very quickly with me :)

    […] the last couple of weeks have the little vegetable seedlings begun to shoot through the ground. My herb planters are bucking the trend and will soon need to be cut back before they take over the garden. The ivy […]

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