Tag Archives: growing herbs

How to grow kitchen herbs

How to grow your own kitchen herbs


How to grow your own herbs for the kitchen

Whilst doing all the testing for our next cookbook, I have come to realise just how expensive fresh herbs can be. They don’t last long in the fridge either and often go to waste if I forget to freeze any leftovers.

So, this year I am
determined to grow
my own.

It will be wonderful to step out of the kitchen door to the subtle scent of sage, mint and rosemary, and be able to clip a few leaves off to add to salads, soups and stews.

Here are some tips on how to sow your own seeds. Something I haven’t done for a long while!



Grow kitchen herbs

Grow kitchen herbs

Pot Herbs for the Kitchen

Fresh herbs give a great lift to many foods – so grow your own in pots sited near the kitchen for ease of picking. And why not choose some colourful, fun containers to plant in?

Sow seeds in March, or buy small herb plants in April or May, pot up at once and start picking leaves as soon as the plants have grown slightly. A sunny position is best. The job will take about an hour.

What you need

Plants Seed packets or small plants of parsley, thyme, marjoram (oregano), sage, mint and rosemary.

Equipment Six small plastic pots for potting up seedlings bought at the garden centre. Seed tray, modular cell system or jiffy pots for sowing seeds, if using. Five containers such as the enamel kettles. Soil-based potting compost and proprietary seed compost if using. Broken crocks for drainage. Trowel.


1 Fill the seed tray or modular cell system with seed compost and sow your seeds according to the instructions on the packets, or sow in jiffy pots according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep on a kitchen windowsill while the seeds germinate, then move them outside when all danger of frost is past.

2 When the seedlings are large enough to handle, pot them on into the plastic pots using potting compost and lining with broken crocks for drainage.

3 Or, line the plastic pots with broken crocks and fill with potting compost, into which you have mixed some sharp sand (if using). Then plant your garden centre seedlings, place into the containers and set out in an attractive arrangement. In general, allow one herb per container, but if the container is big enough, put several in together – here rosemary, parsley and mint have been put in the central container.

4 Place the young herb plants outside only when all danger of frost is past. If you’re uncertain, place them outside on sunny days and bring them in at night until the weather warms up enough for them to be left outside permanently.

5 Pick and use the leaves regularly. All these herbs can grow quite large and, by the end of summer, may well have outgrown their containers unless you keep them under control.

Notes Most herbs do best in full sun. They don’t require rich soil, but they must not be allowed to get waterlogged, so good drainage is essential. Rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram are tough, shrubby plants and can be kept going for years if put into the ground or grown in large enough pots. Mint and parsley are herbaceous and will die down in winter, but reappear again in spring.

Aftercare Regular picking is needed, and watering with care.

Seasonal Garden IdeasThis project is taken from
Seasonal Garden Ideas 

a collection of lovely, easy
projects for any garden.

Now available online
for just £3.99  

(Feb/March 2013 orders).



Tomatoes, herbs and busy bees

Just had our first tomatoes from the garden. This year we found a small bush variety rather than the tall plants that need support – Sweet ‘n’ Neat they’re called and they live up to their name.

Delicious and very tidy! The label says each plant produces about 60 fruits – the small cherry type – so that’ll keep us going for a while. You can cook them, or use them in recipes, but they’re so good just off the bush I don’t suppose any of them will make it that far.

Nutty Pesto Tomatoes recipe
If you’re growing bigger tomatoes, there’s a great sounding recipe in Just One Pot (my current favourite recipe book – full of good ideas, especially cutting down on the washing-up!) – Nutty Pesto Tomatoes on page 130. Might have to buy some big toms to try that one.

All the herbs we planted in May are going great guns, too.

I never thought the oregano would take off like it has, and the silver thyme is so pretty.

Both are in flower and attracting honey bees. I suppose that means someone hereabouts has hives – can’t imagine where, since this is a suburban area of terraced houses with small gardens. The allotments are a quarter of an hour’s walk away – which is possibly not far as the bee flies, so maybe that’s the answer. Anyway, it’s very pleasing as we keep hearing about how numbers of honey bees are declining. Must keep my eye out for locally produced honey.

Have a good week.

Dairy Diary Team


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