Easy Grow Herbs

Nothing compliments a house more than a thriving herb garden. This post is a combination of personal experience and what the books say.

When I first moved into my current house the back garden was composed of overgrown grass and a few broken pots. A result of the previous tenants not caring, which is often the case. Determined to have a small garden, I soon started drawing up plans. The original garden I planned was crowded and contained quite a few expensive herbs, or herbs that were out of season. First thing was first though, I had to figure out exactly what I wanted to plant in a limited space, with limited funds.

For the record the book I am using is a Readers Digest ‘Complete Book of the Garden’ (1967) – I picked it up at an op shop ages ago. It was the best $2 I ever spent!

Easy Growing Herbs

The herbs I chose to grow are underlined, however the rest are apparently easy to grow. I just don’t feel right writing about it if I don’t have the experience. Basil, Chili, Chives, Coriander, Garlic, Ginger, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley,  Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme.

Basil

My Experience

Basil can be used from kitchen scraps according to the internet, all you do is follow instructions like these. Alas, for me this did not work, after 3 repeated attempts I gave up and bought a small punnet of seedlings from Bunnings. However, what I should have researched was the time I planted these cuttings (it was winter). So of course they didn’t grow! I have since learned that basil dies back in winter and only truly flourishes in the warmer seasons. Lesson learned, pay attention to growing charts and know the difference between annual, perennial and biannual plants.

What the Books Say

An annual plant that should be sown in a direct sunny position when the threat of frost has passed. Plant 30cm/1ft apart.

Chives

My Experience

Chives are hard to grow by cutting, however they are still relatively expensive, both at the garden shop and at the grocery store. So I resorted to buying seedlings for them as well, more so out of greed as I couldn’t wait to have some in my cooking. So I didn’t really learn anything from growing chives.

What the Books Say

Perennial. Needs to be divided every 3-4 years (not an issue if you’re renting). Plant 30cm/1ft apart.

Garlic

My Experience

The easiest herb to grow from leftovers. They are relatively cheap at the shops, so it’s easy enough to get the resources. Once garlic cloves start shooting in the fridge or on the tabletop, transplant them straight into the soil. One clove at a time, and ensure they are evenly spaced around 15-20cm/6-8inch apart. Once that is done just let them do what they do.

What the Books Say

Perennial. Plant sets in light soil(from experience it plants in near anything). Plant 20cm/9inches apart in spring.

 

Mint

My Experience

I was very fortunate when it cam to growing mint. As the neighbors had mint that was overgrown and chose to emerge from under the fence dividing our property. So it was as simple as pulling it out and transplanting it into my garden bed. What I didn’t count on though was how fast mint grows and how it tries to take over a garden. As such is had to be moved. I ended up having to create a separate garden bed just for mint. Purely because I did not have time to constantly wrestle control from it.

Additional problems with the mint, revolved around it’s development of leaf rust. Which is non poisonous to humans but spreads rapidly throughout the plant. While there are chemicals you can use to get rid of it, this means that you will not be able to use the plant for 1-2 months. However, due to the growth rate it is just as efficient (and downright cheaper) to lop off everything that is effects and place it straight into a bin. Then one merely needs to wait 1 month and voila! Mint for margaritas.

What the Books Say

Perenial. Propagate by division. Plant in full sun for fast growth. Mint spreads rapidly and can become a nuisance if neglected.

 

Oregano/Marjoram

My Experience

My biggest failure. I attempted to grow oregano from a cheap $0.99 pack. Although it started to grow, again it died quickly due to my lack of understanding the best season to plant it.

What the Books Say

So the book didn’t have Oregano, it had ‘Marjoram (Oreganum Onites)’ and the internet tells me that they are pretty similar with small differences. *shrugs*. Perennial. Propagate by cutting, seed or division.Plant in well drained soil 30-60cm/1-2ft apart. Keep well watered

Parsley

My Experience

My garden is full of parsley, so much parsley that I often don’t get to it before it dies. Not that that’s a bad thing. One can never have too much fresh parsley. I have grown parsley with two methods. Both transplant and seed. While the transplant is by far the easiest to maintain and results in a faster harvest. It does require you to know someone who is willing to part with some of their parsley. In hindsight I clumped the parsley seeds to close together which resulted in the first batches death. However the second batch is now fine and healthy. It grows quite fast and just needs the occasional water if there has been a lack of rain.

What the Books Say

Biennial, but better treated as an annual. Grow in damp soil in light shade or sun. Parsley is slow to germinate and seedlings should be spread 20-25cm/8-10inches apart.

Rosemary

My Experience

Rosemary is simpler to grow than garlic, but takes time to establish itself. One can simply ask a friend for a cutting. Buy some fresh rosemary from the shops. Or if they are so inclined they may do some neighborhood pruning. I have had no issue with the two rosemary sprigs I planted, both have taken off without a hitch. Though they did take some time to establish themselves. All that was required was to trim the leaves off the bottom of the sprigs. Then plop them straight into the ground. That simple.

What the Books Say

Perennial. Propagate by cutting. Plant in sunny place in porous soil 90cm/3ft apart. While an evergreen shrub, rosemary is not winter hardy in cold climates (not a problem in Australia, then).

Sage

My Experience

I have grown two types of sage in my garden. My garden/common sage dropped dead at the start of spring for no apparent reason. Over the course of just one week all of it’s leaves wilted and it was gone. However I use sage quite a bit in my cooking, so needed to reinvest. The second sage plant I put in the garden was Berggarten Sage. I cheated with this one as well due to my cooking habits (I bought a seedling from Bunnings). However this strain of sage has thus far proved itself to be quite hardy and resilient.

What the Books Say

Plant 60cm/2ft apart in light, well drained soil. Evergreen shrub which can be propagated from spring or summer cuttings. Sow seeds in spring.

Thyme

My Experience

Thyme grows easily from a cutting that contains a major root node. Though dormant in winter as the weather warms it quickly spreads and can be propagated multiple times. However if the cuttings are place too close together it will compete with itself. So it is best to give it a set area and let it sprawl by itself in the warmer months.

What the Books Say

Perennial. Propagate by cutting or sow seeds in spring (after dangers of frost have passed). Plant in sunny place, in dry-ish, porous soil. Plant 30cm/1ft apart.

Back garden has come along way since i moved in.

A photo posted by Sam Wise (@sjw998) on