sick lazy weekends at home and turn your staple foods into tasty recipes by tending a miniature herb garden.
According to these experts, this is the perfect way to keep boredom away while improving your food supply.
“April is the best time of year to create the perfect herb garden,” says Amanda Brame of the horticultural division of Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. “At Petersham Nurseries we have the luxury of a beautiful vegetable garden where we can find many different types of herbs that chefs can add to their delicious creations. To get the look, take some inspiration from the nurseries and keep the containers simple, filling each one with a single type of herb and grouping them for the final stylish effect. ‘
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In the Kew Gardens online shop you will find a wonderful selection of pots and planters for your own garden, window sill or even your kitchen counter. Primrose carries a wide range of seeds and delivers to your doorstep, while large supermarkets sell the essential herbs that have already been grown in their own pots. Paul Leonard, head chef at Cumbria’s Michelin-starred The Forest Side, is a fan of the latter approach. “Live herb pots from supermarkets are great because they can be planted in larger pots and made to grow,” he says. “That means the hardest part will be done for you.”
( The gardens of the Petersham Nurseries )
Once you’ve decided how you want to grow your herbs, which ones should you choose? At the top of the chefs list at Petersham Nurseries are borage, sage, thyme, rosemary, basil and Moroccan mint. “Of these, borage is best grown from a seed, wherever it’s supposed to grow,” says Brame. “It takes a little more space than the others, but it’s our favorite. The pretty little blue flowers are edible and can be sprinkled over pasta and pastries alike. Once established, the plant tips make for delicious borage fries. ‘
Leonard thinks that the toughest breeders shouldn’t limit themselves to herbs. “If you want to go a step further in your cultivation, radishes and beets are great this time of year because they can be sown directly outdoors,” he says. “Onion kits are also relatively cheap and give great results with little maintenance.” Whatever you want to grow, when keeping your herbs outside, “the main points are not to go over water and cover the seeds until they germinate as birds and pests are big fans.”
And for those who are not too green-fingered? Oli Martin, chef at Hipping Hall in Lancashire, explains that thyme, rosemary, sage, mint and chives are “staples that require little to no love once planted and come back year after year.” And don’t forget the easy-care lemon balm, which is great in a cocktail …