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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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Chives – Allium schoenoprasum

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A bit like the sorrel plant, in the sense that this is another one of those just plant it and your pretty much sorted for life in this department. A member of the Allium or Onion [alliaceae/ lillaceae] family – the same family that gave you wild garlic, the supermarket garlic bulb and these really beautiful bulbs.

I got a wee clump from a riend of mine some time ago and they have just multiplied themselves over the years. Some recommend that they are grown from seed – and whilst I have done that this season – my recommendation is that you pop your head over your neighbours wall and ask them for a clump. Lift he clump up and like knotted hairjust rip a section out of it and replant.

When I have too much I pop them in the freezer just after harvesting. As a by the way it doesn’t matter if they are flowering or not from your salad point of view. That said from a get the most out of the plant perspective I prefer they don’t go into flower. Mainly as I want the plants energy to go into producing green leaves rather than seed.

Noted as being a bulbous perennial with short rhizomes grown for its edible, cylindrical, hollow dark green leaves that can grow up to 14″ long. Its umbels can be up to 1″ wide whilst its flowers can grow up to 30 bell shaped purple flowers. The plant itself can grow up 24″ tall and 2″ wide.

Herb Garden Harvest

herb garden harvesting - peter donegan fileMost of you will remember my herb garden from a few months back. It didn’t look much at the time – but – whlst I had been borrowing a bit hither dither for cooking.. I eventually had to crop the parsley, some chives and rhubarb. I ate all the blackberries.

The parsley I washed and let dry on tea towels over the weekend; then fine-ish chopped and jarred it. It not my preferred type of garnish [dried] but its better than the little bought dried stuff in jars. And its free now, it tastes better and it my crop gives the plant a little rest after its haircut.

The rhubarb – it wasn’t so much of a crop…. I had to move it temporarily so it had kind of a setback but, its ok now and I cropped it a little; that’ll be put in the freezer as will the chives. The strawberries – well I kind of ate them too.

More recently I have planted some apples; The varieties are ‘Johnagold’ [2 no.] and ‘winston’ [3 no.] both 10 litre pot size and for the Plum I chose the variety ‘Opal’ [5 no.] in a 10 litre pot size as well.

Doesn’t it make you so proud when you see it all – and that kettle is really tall!!