Herbs as a group are relatively easy to grow. Begin your herb garden with the herbs you enjoy using the most.
When growing herbs follow these basic guidelines:
- Plant herbs in average garden soil with organic matter added to improve texture and drainage.
- Choose a site that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun each day.
- Avoid ground where water stands or runs during heavy rains.
- Compensate for poor drainage with raised beds amended with compost.
- Apply organic fertilizers sparingly to leafy, fast-growing herbs. Heavy applications of fertilizer, especially those containing large amounts of nitrogen, will decrease the concentration of essential oils in the lush green growth.
Plan your herb garden by grouping herbs according to light, irrigation, and soil requirements. Most herbs enjoy full sun, but a few tolerate shade.
Basil Sweet Basil is favoured in Italian cuisine, good ‘pesto’ material. Water well and regularly, and break out first flower heads to get large plants with lots of leaves. Basil can not take frost.
Coriander Use as fresh 'cilantro' or leave to flower to harvest seeds. Plant direct in tight rows 10cmx30cm apart and water well to harvest fresh leaves. Allow wider spacing for harvesting seeds.
Dill Leaves and seeds are used for cooking (salad and fish dishes) and preserving (gherkins).
Fennel Herb variety of fennel that is good as tea, with fish and chicken; the young shoots are delicious in salads. Extremely vigorous grower that can turn into a problem if left to grow uncontrolled. Very beneficial plant in an organic garden as it attracts many beneficial insects and small birds.
Garlic Chives Similar uses as spring onions. Perennial plant that flowers decoratively late summer. Difficult to grow from seed, easier to split and multiply from existing plants.
- Curly variety
- Flat Leaf Italian variety
Radish Very fast growing, strikingly red salad and vegetable that can be harvested in four to six weeks. Plant trough the year direct into rows (3x30cm).
Rocket Salad herb with strong nutty taste. Best used fresh. Grows fast throughout the year. Keep moist as rocket is prone to flower in hot and dry climate.
Salads are usually planted in trays first and transferred later into beds in rows of 50x50 cm. They are grown throughout the year but tend to get bitter and start flowering when insufficiently watered in hot and dry conditions.
- Great Lakes is a local, traditional green lettuce type of salad
- Maravilla di Verano has attractive frilly red leaves
Butter Lettuce produces compact heads with soft leaves that are delicious but quite sensitive.
- Ultra is of Swiss organic origin
Cos Lettuce have elongated heads with stong stalked leaves
- St. Blaise is a traditional green cos variety.
- Forellenschuss produces very attractive red dotted leaves.
Battavia type salad can either be harvested continually by breaking off individual leaves or left to form heads.
- Lollo Rosso is a dark red leafy type that grows vigorously and offers high pest resistance, possibly due to red colour.
- Oakleaf is a bright green variety with serrated leaves.
- Red Lattughino produces reddish curly leaves.
Endive are winter salads that do better in cooler weather
- Bubikopf produces large heads with green outer and yellow inner leaves.
- St. Laurent is a Frisee type endive with strongly serrated leaves, yellow inner and green outer leaves.
Chicory type salads have a delicately bitter taste and do best under very cold weather conditions, including spells of frost.
- Grumola is a dark green leaved salad producing small rosettes.
- Aida produces small resettes that turn from light reddish to bright red with increasing cold climate.
- Verona a Palla produces under right temperature white stems and dark read leaved, tight heads.
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