A guide to which ones to plant, what for and when

I’m still mastering it

I’m sure like me, you’ve tried growing herbs.

Whether it’s in pot outside, in your garden or perched on your window sill.

It’s not always easy growing what seems like an easy and economical thing to pursue.

It’s an ongoing battle with me and one I hope to win one day.

However, through a rather brutal learning curve of dying plants, I’ve come to understand the one’s that I can grow.

And the rest… well, they are in my spice drawer as dried herbs.

You can’t win ‘em all!

A quick guide to herbs and flavour

Here’s a quick list of herbs and the best combinations for cooking.

Give growing a go.

But only plant the one’s you will use on a regular basis.

  • Lamb: mint,oregano, rosemary, marjoram, savoury, thyme
  • Beef: thyme, marjoram, coriander, sage, rosemary, oregano, bay leaf
  • Pork: oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram
  • Chicken:  marjoram, tarragon, oregano, coriander, thyme, sage

Tips on using herbs in your cooking

  • A tablespoon of fresh herbs is about the same as a teaspoon of dried herbs i.e. 3 to 1 ratio
  • Most ‘soft’ herbs are added at the end of cooking or in salads.
  • Woody herbs are better for in your cooking.
  • Don’t overdo it on the herbs. Like with all seasoning, you can always add more.
  • Herbs are versatile. You can use them in a rub, coat a roast in herbs, add to stews or marinades and can bring out the lush flavours of the meat.

Annual, biennial or perennial herbs… huh?

Perennials = keep coming back each season. My favourite!

Here is a list of some of the most common.

The top five perennial’s grow really well in my garden and get used a lot.

  1. Sage
  2. Rosemary
  3. Oregano
  4. Mint
  5. Thyme
  6. Chives
  7. Comfrey
  8. Sorrel

Annual = a single season

  1. Basil
  2. Cilantro
  3. Chervil
  4. Marjoram
  5. Summer Savory
  6. Coriander (seeds of cilantro)
  7. Dill

Biennial = need two years to complete their whole life cycle

  1. Parsley
  2. Stevia
  3. Sage

Temperament and tips

Delicate herbsbasil, chives, marjoram, coriander need care and attention when growing.

Woody herbsthyme, rosemary, sage, tend to do well in a hot, dry spot and are hardy enough to get through winter.

Ideally herbs like a sunny, sheltered place (although mint and parsley don’t mind shady) with good drainage.

Make sure you keep them well watered, able to drain and have some space to breathe.

And don’t forget to pick or prune them regularly

When to plant container herbs 

Sow delicate herb seeds such as basil, marjoram, coriander and delicate perennials such as French tarragon, indoors in spring then you can plant outdoors after all risk of frost passes.

Hardier herbs like mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage should be ok outside all year once they are established.

But if starting off, sow hardy herbs indoors first and move outdoors once warmer.

Or sow them outdoors in May in containers.

TIP: Don’t buy herb plants from your garden centre until the weather warms up in late spring.

Good luck and if you need further info, take a look at the RHS site or talk to your local garden centre