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Growing herbs

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Growing your own herbs is not only a rewarding and cost-effective way to add more flavour to your dishes, but it also brings a touch of fragrance to your garden or windowsill.

Top herbs growing in my garden

These are the herbs that I have currently growing in my garden. The ones I use the most in my cooking or tea are planted more frequently and in multiple spots, others are planted in just one place, by my backdoor - closest to the kitchen.

  • Parsley - great for the classic egg sandwich and just about everything else...

  • ☀️Thyme - soups, stews, roasts, even baking!

  • Rosemary - flavourful roasted potatoes (and veg), marinades for meats, and herb-infused oils

  • Mint - try apple mint for a change in your refreshing summer beverage

  • ☀️Oregano - add to your tomato-based sauces and pizza

  • ☀️Marjoram - milder than oregano, delish in everything

  • ☀️Sage - infuse sage with butter for a yummy risotto or pasta dish

  • ☀️Dill - add to vinegar and cucumber for homemade pickles

  • Coriander (cilantro) - you either love or hate...

  • ☀️Tarragon - one of the best herbs in an infused vinegar that I have ever used

  • ☀️Lemon balm - best. lemon. tea.

  • ☀️Chamomile - the pretty flowers make for soft dreams, if you drink (as a tea) before bed

  • Calendula - dry for tea or decorate cakes, salads and drinks with this edible flower

  • ☀️Bay leaves - stew, slow roasts, you get the gist

  • Chives - add a pop of colour to your dishes as a garnish or perfect for dips, salads, and soups

☀️ = prefer full sun

⛅ = can tolerate partial shade

The sun & cloud indicate more of an 'ideal' herb planting guide, as I have had great success growing herbs like marjoram, oregano, and thyme in shady areas with only 2-3 hours of sunlight a day (if that!), so do test out different spots if you are limited on sunny spots.

Calendula growing in my winter garden, picking chamomile from the garden summer '22-23'

Basil - the herb that requires a little more attention

  • ☀️Basil - Truly the best summer herb get varieties like, cinnamon, lemon, and liquorice basil for a twist

I tend to grow basil exclusively in Spring/Summer, or indoors during Autumn. Basil loves the heat and full sun and tends to suffer if neglected (particularly during those hotter summer days).

My recipe for a successful basil crop - perfect for homemade pesto & on pizza - is to dump one or two seed packets into a deepish pot (25-30cm diameter & depth) with holes. Basil likes space for their roots to spread, with well-draining soil.

If I am going to plant basil with my tomatoes, which one should do, I will plant up a separate seed tray of basil and plant out in small clusters once they have 2-3 true leaves.

Companion planting

Plant herbs among your vegetables and flowers to bring beneficial insects and keep away the crop eating critters.

I love to intermingle my planting, so it feels more like a jungle of plants, where I get to search and be surprised when I discover fully grown veg. Others prefer neat rows, so you know where everything is at... and can see how it is progressing.

My recommendation: do whatever makes you feel that little bit more excited or brings you a little bit more joy when you look and forage in your garden.

Herbs for companion planting

Basil, rosemary, or sage can help ward off aphids, moths or beetles.

Lavender, thyme, and oregano blooms and fragrance bring the bees and butterflies.

Dill, coriander (cilantro), and fennel attract beneficial insects like ladybugs (which eat aphids)

Nasturtium acts as a trap crop, attracting aphids, and whiteflies

Herbs have natural pest-repellent properties, the ability to attract beneficial insects, and increase soil health make them invaluable allies for your garden.

I love companion planting, so rest assured there is more to come on this topic.

Herb recipe

Here is a recipe to make the most of your freshly planted herb garden (or pot collection). I tend to throw a bunch of things in a blender along with any herbs that I have growing in my garden, but to make things easier for you, I have actually written it out with measurements, lucky you. Enjoy!

Fragrant creamy green herb dressing

1 Avocado

Large handful of herbs (I tend to use mostly parsley, savoy for a yummy lemon flavour, thyme, oregano, a little coriander and sage)

1 tbsp mayonnaise

3-4 tbsp good olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2-3 sliced Jalapenos (if you want a slight kick)

Squeeze of lemon juice

Pop it all in a blender, and blend!

Mix into your favourite salad, through roast veg and sprinkle with lightly toasted seeds and nuts for a crunchy finish.

Also makes a great sauce/condiment for a salad sandwich.

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