The Real Cost Savings of a Herb Garden
Having a ready supply of herbs is useful because:
On a dollar per gram basis, one of the most expensive fresh foods you can buy, are herbs.
Accessing fresh herbs from home is convenient
You can make a wider range of recipes
They can be free, often self sowing or growing from cuttings
The quality of the softer herbs like basil, mint is better if picked fresh
Regardless of how much money you earn, you only get to spend it once.
It doesn’t matter how little space you have available; you can resort to vertical gardens or pots so you have a fresh supply of herbs. (I found self-watering pots were useful because I was time challenged.)
Fresh Italian parsley, mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, coriander and a chili are staples and are used in a great deal of recipes. They are worthwhile cultivating because they make a huge difference to the taste and appearance of the foods you provide.
This is what I've learnt about the herbs I use most.
Mint likes moist, semi-shady areas and needs to be kept in a contained garden or pot to prevent it spreading throughout your entire garden. It is lovely with lamb and I use it a lot in vegetarian rice paper rolls.
Rosemary loves dry conditions in full sun up against a north facing wall and flourishes on neglect. I also use it for lamb and for roast vegetables.
Parsley also likes cooler areas with plenty of water to flourish. I use it mostly for risottos, stews and casseroles.
This picture is of one of my early herb gardens taken during replanting time.
Dill is another herb snails and slugs seem to love. I found it does best in morning sun, in a reasonably well-drained soil with moderate amounts of water. It is wonderful with fish and in mayonnaise.
Thyme does well in a well drained pot in morning sun and is useful to give a freshness to stews and lamb dishes.
We also have a Bay tree and I use its leaves to give a sweetness to soups and stews. It does well with morning sun and I keep it in a pot near the back door.
And I have a number of Chilli plants which I use to give a kick to meals ranging across a range of cuisines.
Collecting seeds and replanting can keep a ready supply of herbs available
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Basil likes morning sun and moderate amounts of water. Snails seem to love it so you may need to use a safe repellant. I regularly use Basil in Italian cooking. It's easy to grow from cuttings.
Oregano does best with morning sun and moderate amounts of water. I again use it is stews and casseroles and Italian cooking.
Coriander can be fickle and you need to continually plant more seeds to keep up a ready supply. It likes morning sun, moderate watering but hates drafts. I use coriander in many different types of cuisine from Asian through to Mexican. I love it in fresh salads and soups.
Sage seems to like well drained soils and morning sun. I love it most with chicken.
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