Herbs are a simple yet satisfying plant to grow at home. They are often quick growing and are an easy yet impressive way to jazz up a variety of meals and drinks.
They are also ideal to grow for the beginner, as most are relatively quick growing and don’t need to much maintenance. For absolute beginners we recommend purchasing a young plant that has already started; simply transfer the over to a larger container and gently untangle the roots.
To grow from seed is cheaper but will need some extra prep work; however the rewards are absolutely worth it. Take careful note of the instructions on the back of the seed packet, as this will dictate when and where to plant.
All of the options below can be grown on a sunny windowsill, ideal if you do not have space or a planting area in your garden.
Finally, most herbs benefit from regular cutting, allowing the plant to grow back and flourish again. If you don’t manage to use up your homegrown herbs in time, chop them up and add to ice cube trays with water or olive oil and add them to your cooking.
Perfect for ripping up and placing atop a freshly made pizza or pasta, or used in a homemade pesto, basil is a wonderfully versatile, fragrant herb. Tearing the leaves rather than cutting releases the amazing aroma.
Pick regularly, and water at the base to avoid the leaves becoming mouldy. If you are growing outside, ensure to protect from frost.
Closely related to onions, chives can add a zing to many dishes, such as omelettes, potatoes and fish.
Chives flower quickly, featuring bright purple, edible pom poms called chive blossoms. Simply cut chives regularly at the base of the plant. They are easy to maintain and quickly regrow.
Fresh mint is a wonderfully cool and refreshing summer herb to add to cocktails, fresh juices, zingy salads and sauces such as the classic mint sauce. A spring or two added to chocolate desserts is also delicious.
Very fast growing, mint spreads and can very quickly overtake your planting patch, so if you are planning on planting outside, confine your mint to a pot within the soil. Mint actually works best grown from root cuttings rather than from seed. There are lots of different varieties available, varying from a subtle chocolate flavour to fruity ones, such as banana mint.
Like basil, oregano pairs perfectly with tomato-based Italian dishes such as pizza or pasta, also working well in marinades.
Oregano loves full sun, so ensure you plant in a sunny spot. Be careful not to waterlog, as oregano grows best in free-draining soil. To harvest, cut the leaves whenever you need them, and occasionally cut back to encourage fresh growth.
Cook with the stalks of parsley as well as the leaves, it is the ideal complement to fish dishes such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Curly and flat leaf varieties are available, but the latter is preferred as it is easier to rinse clean.
Be careful not to allow parsley to dry out, so water regularly. Cut the stems at the base, and use both the stalks and leaves in your cooking.