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Planting herbs

I was replying to subsequent comment advising to do so with chives…mint is worse if anything.

Other herbs to consider are lemon balm, oregano and rosemary, which will do either in a pot or in the garden. Haven’t had much success with Basil up here.

Raspberries as mentioned too, though watch for the spread there too!

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Marjoram and oregano are good summer herbs too


Not sure i’ve ever had this - can I cook with it? If so what?

Sadly I think fruit and veg is out in my small London garden - one day I’ll get a fruit cage like we had growing up!

I have lemon balm in my garden and it’s lovely to stick some in your bath water. I’ve not heard of people cooking with it though.

I made my own fruit cage using piping from sink drains and then netting over the top.

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Used more as a garnish for some food dishes as the aroma tends to disappear when cooked. Also can be used as an infusion like fruit teas.

I love just rubbing the leaves together for the smell…

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apparently you can plant tomato and basil in the same pot as they like each other and we all like them together

ok down in the tropical south :wink:

basil is meant to stop fly attacking the tomatoes - parents co-plant in the greenhouse like this. No use outside as the air movement cancels out the effect apparently

I always buy my pot herbs (Basil, coriander, parsley…) from Aldi…even cheaper than Sainsbury’s


Would surprise you how cold some soils can get…clay especially. Once they warm up it’s fine. Another trick with beetroot is to soak the seed in warm water for a few hours then put on kitchen paper to dry a bit before planting next day.

My parents house is on clay and always a couple of weeks later planting than me (free draining sand/gravel) and we are only 5 miles away as the grow flies !

Will try the beetroot trick ! thanks

Or put in a G&T


Nice field blend

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A few herb tips off the top of my head.

Basil - doesn’t like root competition - buy a pre-planted pot but separate each plant before planting out. You can do this more easily under water in a bucket! The plant, that is. The difference is worth it. Buy Greek (small-leaved) basil for a change - it grows well and to a bigger size. Basil doesn’t like cold so don’t plant out just yet.

Rosemary is a shrub. It varies between woody giant, tiny rockery, and prostrate tumbling varieties. Most taste the same, but there’s a lot of difference in the hardiness. There’s a fairly compact one that flowers through winter (looks pretty) which was bred in Canada and is v. hardy called “Bonny Jean”.

Thyme - Reliable, low-growing subshrub (i.e. it’s supposed to get woody!) Lots of different flavoured varieties. Needs sun.

Oregano (aka Wild Marjoram) is a British native, as is thyme. Expect it to attempt to take over your garden (in a good way this time) if you are on chalk.

Try wild garlic (Allium ursinum) on shady banks. True garlic needs a sunny veg. patch.

Mint - don’t forget there are different species (different flavours) of mint too.

Don’t forget sage - another shrub! There are decorative variegated and purple leaved varieties so you can use them decoratively too.


Hah, yes, my oregano is constantly self seeding all over the garden! I keep meaning to give wild garlic a try; I have a small wooded patch at the bottom of my garden I was thinking of trying it in.

Incidentally if anyone wants variety recommendations for hardy hardnecked garlic, I have two varieties that are grown by a local farm (The Really Garlicky Company!) - Castano and Doocot - that grow really well up here in the Highlands.


Same tactic here. I try to split them a bit. Looks a bit sad at first but quickly recover and better for the extra room. I regularly get a sufficiently good crop to make pesto as well salad uses.

Also worth considering a few of the more unusual herbs that are hard to buy in the shops:

Lovage is a good companion if you like soups or stews- it adds a celery like flavour but deeper and more complex. For small spaces there is a variety called Scots lovage- it has very pretty edible flowers too. The flavour is a bit different from common lovage, I prefer it.

Savory is a herb that used to be used much more in this country. It is the perfect companion for puy lentil and all bean dishes. Flavour is a bit similar to thyme and can be used as a thyme substitute.

Vietnamese coriander is much easier to grow than normal coriander. Flavour is quite different too - excellent if you like south East Asian cooking, but not everyone likes it.

Lemon verbena is glorious- worth growing just to pick and sniff the occasional leaf. It also makes a very nice tea. And can be used to make a syrup.

Myrtle is pretty- and you can use the leaves like bay leaves and the berries are a bit similar to juniper.

Society garlic (tulbaghia fairy star is my favourite variety) produces pink edible flowers with a strong garlic flavour for at least six months of the year. Brilliant in salads or as a garnish. One of my favourites.

Finally Iemon grass can be grown from the stalks you get in the supermarket. Start in a pot in the warmth inside and look fo the freshest stalk you can find.


@tom - I’d definitely try the supermarket route early on in the year for Basil, but also try sowing from seed in summer and into Autumn as it much prefers warmer conditions. If your garden is shady, I would suggest an inside, sunny windowsill as being a better option. Outside may be OK from June onwards, but before then, it can be too cold and it will sulk. NEVER overwater, especially when young!

Lots of lovely varieties to try - Purple, Thai, Greek, Large leaf (size of lettuce leaves!) etc.

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If you have asmall north facing garden, and any shady room under bushes or trees, try plantingg some Ransome bulbs. They take a while to establish, but will come up each spring . They are a native wild garlic, use the leaves and flowers for salads and lots of cooking. I made wild garlic soda bread today.


I think a key issue is if the rosemary roots are wet in winter. If well-drained it can stand the cold well. It is a wild mountain plant in the Mediterranean and would often face frosts…