fbpx
12.9 C
Cape Town
Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Tips on growing herbs to transform your meals

Published on

 

If you love herbs in your food but never thought about flexing your green thumbs to grow your own, Granny Mouse Country House & Spa has got you covered!

 

Growing your own herbs can not only be rewarding in a sense that you are taking care of a living thing, but it could also save you money, especially if you like big gourmet salads over the summer.

 

And so, here are the ”Top 10 Perennial Herbs For Hot Summer Climates”, with some top tips for growing them, courtesy of Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, which is sure to make you feel inspired to transform your own garden into a lush herb filled haven!

 

1. Sweet basil – Does best with morning sun and afternoon shade:

Grow in fertile, well-composted soil that drains well. For lush leaves water regularly and feed with a liquid feed once a month. Pinch off the white flower heads to prevent plants going to seed. Purple basil and cinnamon basil are also delicious in salad.

 

2. Dill – Grows 1 metre high and needs full sun and well-composted soil:

Don’t plant it with fennel or tomatoes. The fresh leaves are more flavourful than dried. It attracts beneficial insects.

 

3. Parsley – Grows best in fertile soil in sun or semi-shade:

 

It requires consistently moist (but not waterlogged) soil and should be fertilised once a month as it is a heavy feeder. The tastiest leaves are produced in the first growing season, so regard it as an annual and replace every season.

 

4. Mint – available in a number of flavourful varieties:

 

Plants spread quickly and grow in sun or semi-shade. They like plenty of water, but well-drained soil. For bushy, healthy plants cut back regularly. Check their spread as they can be invasive.

 

5. Origanum – A low-growing, frost-hardy evergreen herb:

 

It does well in full sun, in well-composted soil that drains well. For variety, plant spreading or upright golden origanum and cream-and-green ‘Country Cream’. All varieties are equally flavourful.

 

6. Thyme or lemon thyme – A hardy, bushy little perennial that
grows in full sun, in ordinary garden soil:

 

Regular picking keeps plants bushy and prevents them from getting woody. Also grow French thyme for culinary use.

 

7. Rosemary – One of the best heat tolerant herbs and thrives in hot, dry conditions:

 

It has needle-like leaves and a woody stem. It can be propagated from seeds or cuttings, and it can grow quite tall if left to its own devices.

 

8. Chives – Clump-forming perennials that grow to a height of 50cm, with deep green, onion-like leaves and heads of mauve-pink flowers in summer:

 

Chives grow easily in any soil, in full sun or partial shade and need regular watering.

 

9. Rocket – Probably the easiest herb to grow from seed:

Kirchhoffs has two types available in seed packets: wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) and garden rocket (Eruca sativa). Both rocket varieties like rich, well-composted, friable soil and plenty of water. Sow directly or into containers, in full sun or semi shade.

 

Wild rocket, with edible yellow flowers, has a stronger flavour than normal rocket. It can be sown all year round in mild climates and is slower growing than garden rocket, with a garden height of 20cm.

 

Garden rocket can grow up to 60cm.It does better as a cool-season crop because the flavour of the leaves gets stronger as summer progresses and if it flowers. Rather remove flowering stems.

 

For a longer harvest, sow a small quantity at a time, and then succession sow every 2 – 3 weeks. Water regularly and feed weekly. Harvest constantly and cut down 2 – 3 times during the season.

 

10. And last but not least, lemongrass – an evergreen that is very easy to
grow, needing rich, well-draining soil and a moderate amount of water:

Plant in full sun or morning sun with afternoon shade, and feed at the beginning of spring for optimal growth. This grass comes from the tropics and is not cut out for frost. It will most likely die back over winter but should sprout once again in spring. Plants should be
cut back in spring to encourage new growth. The best news? It’s almost impossible to kill in the garden!

 

Lemongrass is seldom affected by pests or diseases, but fungal diseases can be a problem during long rainy spells. The easiest cure for this is to cut the leaves right back and dispose of the affected matter. In the garden, you can use the cut leaves as an insect-repelling mulch around your ornamentals or other veg. It can be planted with other herbs, especially lemon balm and thyme or mint, and also does well when grown alongside lucerne. If you have a steep bank that needs stabilising, lemongrass could be the answer – it is used
for this exact purpose in Asia.

Latest articles

Moerat to lead new-look Bok team featuring seven uncapped players

    Salmaan Moerat will take over the Springbok captaincy for the first time when he leads a squad featuring seven uncapped players in a first...

Hero’s welcome for SA’s tennis star, Kgothatso Monjane

  A hero's welcome awaited South African wheelchair tennis champion Kgothatso Montjane as she beamingly made her arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, on Monday...

Water disruptions in parts of Cape Town this week

  Several areas in Cape Town may experience water supply disruption between Tuesday until Thursday this week, as the City’s Water and Sanitation Directorate will...