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.
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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Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’
If cauliflower was a stock to trade, some would have made millions in the last few years as the humble cauliflower became one of the most versatile cruciferous vegetables in the kitchen. With an increase in the popularity of flexitarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto and plant-based diets, cauliflower is no longer only baked into a cheesy casserole, but spiced and grilled as ‘steaks’ on a braai, mashed, riced, sauced, powdered, blended and made into pasta or a crispy pizza base. There are not many vegetables that can do all that!
Mushroom plant (Rungia klossii) is a bushy perennial with crisp, mushroom-flavoured leaves that are good for adding to salads or for cooking. Steam just before serving so that the leaves don’t lose their fresh green appearance.
A passion for roses
For five generations of gardeners, maybe more, Ludwig Taschner has been the friendly face of rose growing.
Time For Wild Hyacinths!
We told you in January that planting bulbs would be a great trend in 2021, so March is a good time to kick off your annual bulb planting quest with the indigenous wild hyacinths, also called Cape hyacinth, Cape cowslip and, more botanically correct, Lachenalia. Between South Africa and Namibia there are more than 120 natural species (some of which are sold in flower by specialist nurseries), but there are also many desirable hybrids bred by commercial bulb growers that are readily available in bulb form from the end of February.
How To Extend The Harvest Of Baby Marrows
By March baby marrows are usually at the end of their productive lives, with most leaves covered in powdery mildew. Pulling them out is almost an act of kindness.
What To Do Now March
Aeoniums are commonly called tree houseleeks, which is an indication that they form substantial side stems topped with their typical fleshy rosettes. They are also described as subtropical plants, and so require more water and less arid growing conditions than other succulents.
Veggies Are At The Frontline Of Health
Eating healthily to keep healthy and maintain a good level of immunity is as much of a strategy in this time of Covid-19 as wearing masks, social distancing and sanitising.
Top 10 Roses
There are over 150 rose species and thousands of hybrids, so compiling a Top Ten is something of a challenge. Here we have chosen some of our favourites, which we feel are essential for any good rose garden.
The Gentle Giant Among His Roses
A lifetime love affair with roses has shaped this expansive farm garden.
Bonding Through Birds
Kindness spreads through this Kentucky nursing facility, but it starts with feathered friends at a window.
Junco family tree
Meet the many variations of this beloved snowbird and popular wintertime visitor.
What is your favorite owl and why?
Readers share special memories and the species they think is most interesting.
At the Edge of Lake Erie
Try these three activities at Point Pelee National Park.
How Birds Get Named
Meet the committee in charge of naming and organizing birds.
Prime Time For Planting
Find Out Why Fall Is Perfect For Late-Season Gardening.
A Mind Shaped By Gardening
Sue Stuart-Smith is a psychiatrist and gardener. Her new book The Well-Gardened Mind explores the power of gardening to change people’s lives.
Two doves: One native, one an intruder
We have two types of doves in north-central Washington: Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared-Dove.
Find Your Voice
Do you love to sing? Botanicals can improve your voice and soothe a sore throat
Why Birds Do What They Do
The more humans understand about their behavior, the more inaccessible their world seems.