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The Christmas Cooking Fresh Herbs From Your Herb Garden, List

herb garden harvesting - peter donegan file

If you are looking to use fresh only herbs in your cooking this festive season, a herb garden may not be the worst investment you could ever make. Looked after it, it will be there for you this time next year and the year after and….

A herb patch or garden, for it’s colour and scent is a great addition to any garden and I should add, would make an extremely thoughtful Christmas gift. Just so you know, I parked mine right outside the kitchen door. Stuck for space outside, there is absolutelynothing wrong with it grown as a potted arrangement.

From asking on twitter and facebook my extensive research, these are the ones that you use the most.

1. Rosemary

rosemary

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis. Can be purchased and planted at just about any time of year. They work well in pots on their own or with others and also double up well as a shrub if you are stuck on space. Quite hardy so they should tolerate low temperatures.

2. Bay Laurel

bay laurel bay laurel

Bay Leaf/ Bay Laurel – Laurus nobilis. I love this plant. It’s a great evergreen and works extremely well as a hedge, which is how I have it planted [above] in my garden. It’s also beautiful when it comes into flower. No need for the dried version. For some strange reason[?]… I like to suck the leaf.

3. Mint Plant

mint plant mint shrub

Mentha – Mint Plant. There are loads of varieties of mint. Literally loads. And all are great in mohitos. That aside I have never grown these in a bed alongside anything else. It is the bully boy of the herb world and at all times should remain in a pot all on its lonesome. The root zone simply evolves like the base of a cheesecake and just takes over everything. Still, a must have.

Can be bought and planted year round and is nigh on indestructable.

4. Parsley

Petroselinum hortense – Parsley. I simply cannot get enough of this plant. I’d nearly sprinkle it on my porridge if I could. This batch has been with me a while now and whilst you can see the dead stems in the image, I just let it self seed and regenerate itself over and over. There’ll should be just enough there still come December.

Generally available year round as potted plants. That said I grew mine from seed.

5. Coriander

coriander

Coriander – Coriandrum. I’m not mad on eating coriander. I throw a bit in at Christmas time for the craic. But sparingly so. Nice to say that it’s in the pot and I grew it myself. Once again, I grew this batch from seed.

herb garden layout...

Others include:

Thyme – easily added and availble generally all year round as potted plants

Sage – available most of the year in pots.

Basil – I grew my Basil from seed. Cropped it and keep it in the freezer. If you have a kitchen window sill – I’d suggest you sow some seeds now in a few jam jars.

Chives – I like to crop my Chives throughout the year and freeze. the easiest way to get some chives is to grab a clump from your neighbours patch. That said growing them from seed in a jam jar or on a window ledge will also work fine.

Wild Garlic – if you know your wild plants and where to look you should be able to find a clump of wild garlic. Great in salads in the summer. At turkey time, I like to scatter some fine chopped over the spuds. Not readily available commercially.

What I have left out here is lavender, but that’s only because I tend not to use it when cooking. Any queries or comments, simply drop me a line or leave a comment below.

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Basil – Ocimum basilicum

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The Ocimum [labiatae/ lamiaceae] are a genus of about 365 species of aromatic annuals and evergreen herbs. But – this is not lavender we are discussing. This is the herb we know as basil. With that in mind I am only interested in one type.

There are other varieties, but I have chose what I regard a the more common basil [to me] or what is know commercially as sweet basil. It is an annual and therefore completes its life cycle in one season.

Either or the entire of the ocimum basilicum’s are renowned as either short lived perennials or annuals. They are tender little things that, horticulture aside most people have very little, or less luck with. Any deviation from that truth and your pants are on fire or you work for NASA – and yes they can hear you. Back to the herbs…

For me, I prefer to grow mine from seed and there literally is no major secret [there is of course 😉 ] to doing so. Simply fill a jam jar with compost. Firm slightly and place on the kitchen window ledge. Add a little patience and play the waiting game. Some say, sow them in rediculous rows 8″ apart – but I like to scatter a few across the top and stuff the rule book. Its more fun as well.

The scent from them is amazing. I chose not to feed them either. Its just me and food crops. And if I end up with too much from cropping…. I freeze them to get me through the winter. Next year, I’ll start all over again. As a btw, you should get about 300 seeds in a pack… use what you must and put the rest [in the packet] in the freezer.