Design Your Own Herb Garden
The Gardener|August 2020
If you’ve decided to grow your own food, think further than just vegetables.
Alice Spenser-Higgs

Herbs are not only good companions for vegetables, but are also nutritionally rich, less demanding to grow, harvestable all year round, and there is no better way to naturally flavour food.

August is a good time to plan your herb garden or decide on how to incorporate herbs into the veggie garden. By September you should be ready to plant.

Although it is human nature to plunge in headfirst, the best way to get the most from your herb garden is to have a plan. Planning a herb garden involves deciding on a theme, selecting the site, creating the design and drawing up a herb list.

Step one

Start by selecting a theme, whether it is culinary or healing, or maybe a bit of both. For a culinary garden it could be as simple as choosing your favourite cooking herbs. The nine major culinary herbs are basil, chives, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, savory, sage, thyme.

Another option is to concentrate on herbs for a specific cuisine, or to include herbs with edible flowers or fruit-flavoured leaves that can be used in salads, punches and desserts, like rosemary, basil, pineapple sage, borage, mint, lemon verbena and lemon thyme.

Many of the culinary herbs have healing properties too. A first-aid garden is a good starting point and could include such dual-purpose herbs as thyme (antiviral and antibacterial), sage (antiseptic), parsley (immune boosting), rosemary (antimicrobial and soothing) and peppermint (relieves itching and inflammation when applied topically).

Herbal teas are soothing, delicious and the safest way to ingest herbs, provided that you don’t drink more than three cups a day for longer than a week. Consider fruity herbs like bergamot, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, rose geranium, chamomile, chocolate mint, English lavender and lemon balm.

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