Grown in the garden, or grown in pots and containers, herbs can be a great addition to any kitchen garden, and growing many useful herbs is not difficult in the UK.
Any cook or chef will attest to the value of using culinary herb in cooking, and fresh herbs either grown from seed or seedlings are relatively easy. Increasingly popular although often more difficult is growing spices such as saffron.
Sage (picture right) is a popular herb plant in the home garden or for growing in tubs or pots.
Most herbs generally require a sunny position and a well drained humus rich soil. Spices such as saffron require a little more effort.
With literally 100s of natural garden herbs to choose from, and many different growing requirements, the first step in planning a herb garden is to list those that you use the most and wish to grow, and then establish the individual requirements of light, soil type and moisture.
Plan your herb garden taking into account individual plant soil water, warmth and light requirements. Consider growing more difficulty herbs in pots or containers where they can be moved to warmer positions during winter months.
You may need to grow plants in a number of positions, or even choose to grow herbs in pots for best results.
Common Garden Herb Varieties
Cooking with herbs:
Remember that fresh herbs are generally used fresh, in dished where they are uncooked, tossed through salads etc, or lightly cooked, added at the end as a garnish to an omelette or curry. This preserves the texture and flavour. Dried herbs are used in cooking, they are stronger tasting as the oils are concentrated.
Rosemary is probably the exception to the rule, it can be added to lamb etc at the beginning of the cooking process (just push it underneath the skin with a clove of garlic)
Herbs and Spices have been used for culinary purposes for centuries, to add flavour and color to vegetarian dishes, salads, soups, cakes and pastries and meat dishes. Herbs are also used in the garden as insect repellents. Other uses for herbs and spices include: cosmetics, medicinal, for use as dyes.
Fresh herbs are easy to grow in the home garden, you can even dry your own herbs for use out of season. And yes you can grow your own saffron.
Drying herbs is easy, and this keeps a supply for winter months and also provides herbs for recipes that require dried herbs.