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  • Writer's pictureGeorgie

Homegrown herbs 🌱

When lockdown came about I decided I would use this time to try something I have never had the time to devote myself to - growing things!

I ordered a small greenhouse and started planting some seeds. I began with herbs but then slowly branched out to other veg.

I started all of my herbs and veg in containers but once they get going you can move them to a bed rather than repotting them.

TOP TIP: plants in pots need more water than those in raised beds or the ground.

My current herb victories in the greenhouse have been the following:

Basil (sweet basil) is originally from the mint family and is mostly used in Italian cuisine. Other types of basil such as holy basil, Thai basil and lemon basil, are used in Thai, Indonesian & Vietnamese cuisines.

Sweet basil has a subtle peppery flavour with a hint of mint.

You want to sow basil seeds from spring to summer into well-drained soil and spaced about 20-30cm apart. Keep your basil in a warm, sheltered position out of the way of direct sunlight and water sparingly.

Pick the leaves off evenly across the plants, leaving some shoots for new leaves to grow.

Now for cooking! For best flavour, add the basil at the end of cooking and tear it (rather than chop) to release the aroma.

Basil works beautifully in topping salads, pasta and pizza, whilst blending well with sauces, and most importantly... pesto!

FUN FACT: basil can be used to treat snake and insect bites.

Lemon Thyme is a type of thyme with a strong citrusy aroma and flavour. You should sow it in spring, 30cm apart in well-drained soil. Lemon thyme likes full sun to partly shaded light. The strong aroma of lemon thyme is at its peak just before the purple flowers appear.

The flavour of the thyme reaches its apex in the morning, like all herbs when the essential oils are most abundant. Therefore if you’re cooking with lemon thyme, harvest it in the early hours of the day to get maximum flavour.

For cooking, again add the herb at the end of the cooking. Lemon thyme works well with poultry, seafood, marinades, soups, sauces, and stuffing. You can chop it or leave in sprigs for decoration.

FUN FACT: the oils of lemon thyme also work as an excellent mosquito repellent when crushed.

Agastache Mexicana Lime originating from Mexico, does not survive in cold temperatures. It prefers a warm, sunny sheltered position in well-drained soil. The plant can be grown as an annual as it doesn’t last very long, and produces seed from the flowers in its’ first year of growth.

The plant has a pungent liquorice aroma and flavour, and is good to flavour salads, cooked foods, and herbal tea.

FUN FACT: an essential oil within the plant has anti-fungal activity and is used in formulations to protect post-harvest stored grains.

I will be doing some more posts about other produce I have been growing so sit tight!

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