One of the joys of growing herbs is that everyone can do it. The majority of herbs are fairly easy to grow, and if you don't have a garden, they can be grown in pots and window boxes. They can also be grown in troughs or growbags where there is a patio or balcony, and for those with a garden, they can be planted within existing flower beds, or in a specially created herb garden or bed.
Ten herbs have been specially selected and highlighted for use with this pack. These have been chosen as they are relatively easy to bring on from seed, but why not experiment and choose some more herb seeds to grow and use. Rosemary is more difficult to cultivate from seed and so it may be advisable to buy a small plant from a garden centre or nursery. The latin names of the following herbs have been inserted in brackets
BASIL: (Ocimum basiiicum) Widely used in Mediterranean cooking, this tender half hardy annual is susceptible to frost damage. Ideally it should be grown in a pot to be brought indoors during cold weather. Growing to a height of 30-60 cms, it has large shiny leaves and small white flowers that bloom in clusters. Once established, pick the tops out often as this will make the plant branch out and produce more leaves.
CORIANDER: (Coriandrum sativum) An easy to grow hardy annual that grows to a height of around 60 cms. Its lower leaves are bright green and look similar to flat leaf parsley, while the upper leaves are more feathery, and it has pinkish white flowers. The seeds, leaves and roots of this herb are all used, especially in Asian cooking.
DILL: (Anethum graveoiens) The soft, feathery leaves and clusters of small deep yellow flowers make this an attractive garden herb. A tender annual, that grows to a height of 60-90 cms, the leaves and seeds are commonly used in cooking. The seeds scatter as soon as they are ripe and should be picked and dried immediately for winter use.
LEMON BALM: (Melissa officinalis)An aromatic hardy perennial known for its fresh lemon fragrance. It can thrive in some of the poorest soils, growing to a height of around
60-90 cms. Pale yellow or white flowers bloom throughout the summer.
MARJORAM : (Origanum vuigare) A strongly scented hardy evergreen, it forms a low hummock of tiny green leaves, from which upright stems of small pink flowers erupt in summer. It has a strong flavour
MINT: (Mentha) A quick growing and often invasive herb which comes in many varieties. It is a hardy perennial and can grow to a height of about 60-90 cms. Its long spearlike leaves have a refreshing, clean aroma. Lilac and cream flowers are produced in late summer. To contain invasive growth, plant mint in a container from which the bottom has been removed, set in the ground.
and is used mainly in Italian cookery. There is often confusion over marjoram and oregano. The latin name for all marjoram is origanum and the herb known as "oregano" is wild marjoram (origanum vulgare).
PARSLEY: (Petroselinium crispum) A hardy biennial which can be harvested all year round with winter protection. Flat-leaf and French parsley are the two most common varieties and are grown mostly for their flavour or for use as a garnish. An ideal herb for container growing, it normally grows to about 30 cms in height. Leaves should always be picked from the outside, allowing the new leaves to grow from the middle of the plant.
ROSEMARY: (Rosmarinus officinalis) A strongly flavoured evergreen shrub. With its aromatic, needle shaped, blue-green leaves, it is easily identifiable. Different varieties are available, tall upright kinds and tumbling prostrate forms. Not all are very hardy, so choose carefully. It produces blue, white or pink flowers in late spring.
SAGE : (Salvia officinalis) Native of the Mediterranean region, it is widely used in cookery. This is a hardy evergreen shrub of which there are a number of varieties, all with slightly different flavours. The most commonly grown is salvia officianalis, a small woody perennial that grows to about 30 cms in height ^ ^t^ and is quite shrubby in appearance. It has oblong, veined, grey-green leaves that are slightly downy. It fllowers in late summer and has a spicy scent.
THYME : ( Thymus vulgaris) Wild thyme is perhaps the most common form of this strongly aromatic herb, although there are many other varieties of this ^ native of the Mediterranean region. A hardy evergreen perennial, it spreads Tbyme well and is often used for ground cover. Grows to a maximum height of about 23 cms, its pungent leaves are grey-green, tiny and dotted with scent glands. Small mauve flowers appear at the end of leaf stems in summer.
Did you know? The Romans believed that Parsley worn as wreaths around their necks prevented drunkenness.
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Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?