Once Upon a Thyme

For my entire adult life, I have always had some sort of a garden and always a herb patch, but here's the funny thing, its only in the last couple of years that I have learnt how to use these herbs. basil-225x225Every garden I have ever had in all my moves and shifting around, I have always grown a few herbs. To be perfectly honest I have struggled to grow herbs and use them for the correct purpose, if you know what I mean? Parsley, I hate the flavour but always grow it. Probably because my Mum grew it and maybe I hoped that I would learn to like it. Don't even mention parsley sauce, just at the mere thought of it makes me want to gag. Guess what? Parsley is currently flourishing in my garden! Basil, I just couldn't get it to grow, and when I finally did I discovered that pesto was completely over rated. Lemon balm, yip I've grown it many times, always with the intention of making tea and you guessed it....never happened! I would hate to count up the number of potted herbs that I have brought, as I've ambled around the supermarket or garden centre, over the years. The other question that used to rumble about in my head was which herb for which job, how many herbs did I need to grow for healing all the ailments my family may encounter in their lifetime? Mint, oh don't get me started on this one, my mums words still echoing in my head many years later. What ever you do, don't grow it directly in your garden she said, or you will 'rue the day' and yes indeed, "rue the day" I did. It took over my entire garden and grew like something from 'Day of the triffids'. string of herbs-275x183 And then it happened...I had an epiphany As I started to develop a more serious garden based on wanting to feed our family, and I moved into eating more whole foods, I started to notice a pattern in the herbs that kept showing up in recipes. We love Thai food in our house and as a result Coriander became a must grow. The first couple of times it went to seed, so now I know to grow it in the cooler months and I freeze the surplus for summer when coriander naturally wants to go to seed. Basil, its not so bad after all! By adding a little bit each time I cook with it, I've really developed a taste for it, particularly using it with tomato. I now long for Basil to flourish in my summer garden. Rosemary, well the bees love it and now I use it in many red meat dishes mixed up with home grown Thyme and it's delicious. So if (like me) you have spent a lot of time trying to get your head around which herbs to grow, take a cue from me and grow the ones that turn up in your cooking recipes. You will be amazed how it opens up a whole new world of flavour and gardening experience. Also by cooking seasonally you quickly learn what will grow in you garden at any particular time of the year. Now is the time to sow seeds of basil, 'Genovese Giant' is my favourite. Basil needs constant warmth to do well and if kept well fed and watered, you will be rewarded with beautiful basil leaves for the entire summer. Furthermore, basil grows well in a pot, so sow some seed today and look forward to all the many recipes of summer favourites. Top tip: Plants with low feed requirements, grow fantastically in our Autopot's. The best thing about having an Autopot system set up with herbs is that, if we go away for a few days in the heat of summer my herbs are still flourishing on my return. Ready and waiting for harvesting.