Time to soak up some Vitamin D! Summer’s here and with the New Year rolling in, it’s the perfect time to get up, get moving, and do some herb gardening! Take a flavourful journey with us today and check out our top picks for herbs that are good to plant this sunny season.
Herb Gardening in Australia
Australia's diverse climates, from tropical to temperate, provide the perfect avenue for growing a wide array of herbs. Herb gardening in your own backyard not only puts fresh flavours at your fingertips but also reduces your reliance on store-bought herbs, making it an eco-friendly choice.
Essential Herbs for your Herb Garden
Basil: The Crown Jewel of Herbs
Fun Fact: Basil is known as the "king of herbs" for its remarkable flavor and versatility. It's a must-have in every herb garden!
Growing Tip: Plant basil in well-drained soil, basked in full sun. Keep the soil moist, and pinch off the tips to encourage bushier growth.
Harvest Period: Basil’s germination period spans 7-10 days after planting. Your first harvest would usually be ready within 3-4 weeks.
Mint: The Cool and Refreshing Choice
Fun Fact: Did you know that there are over 600 varieties of mint? From classic peppermint to spearmint and even chocolate mint, the choices are endless.
Growing Tip: Mint thrives in partial shade and moist soil. Consider planting it in a separate container to prevent it from taking over your garden.
Harvest Period: It takes about two months to fully grow for your first harvest. Once you see stems that are 6-8 inches long, that’s your cue!
Rosemary: The Fragrant Evergreen
Fun Fact: Rosemary has been used for centuries as a symbol of remembrance and fidelity. Ancient Greeks even believed it boosted memory.
Growing Tip: This drought-tolerant herb thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Prune it regularly to keep it bushy. Remember that rosemary's growth rate can be influenced by factors such as sunlight, soil quality, and temperature. It's a relatively slow-growing herb compared to some annual plants, but it can be quite long-lived if well cared for.
Harvest Period: Planted fresh from seeds, it takes around 14-21 days for germination. Rosemary can be slow to grow and could take 3-4 months from germination for the first harvest. The wait is worth it as Rosemary is an evergreen herb! Once grown, you can continuously harvest it year-round while regularly pruning to encourage growth.
Chives: The Oniony Accent
Fun Fact: Chives belong to the onion family and pack a mild, onion-like flavor. They are a fantastic addition to salads and baked potatoes!
Growing Tip: Plant chives in well-drained soil and give them plenty of sunlight. Harvest the leaves regularly to encourage growth. Chives can be harvested for their leaves, also known as chive "blades", when they reach a height of 6 to 8 inches.
Harvest Period: You can typically start harvesting chives around 30 to 60 days (about 2 months) after planting, depending on growing conditions.
Coriander: The Global Favourite
Fun Fact: Coriander is known as cilantro in the United States and other countries. It's a key ingredient in many global cuisines, from Mexican salsa to Thai curries.
Growing Tip: Coriander prefers cooler temperatures and partial sun, ideally planted in early spring or fall for the best results. The growth time varies depending on whether you plan on harvesting the leaves, Cilantro, or its seeds.
Cilantro grows annually and is often harvested before it bolts; the stage where it goes from producing leaves to producing flowers. This can occur within 6 to 8 weeks of planting and can be significantly boosted or triggered by warm weather.
As for Coriander, the plant needs to grow, flower, and then produce seeds. Flowering generally occurs after 8 to 12 weeks of planting, depending on growing conditions. Seed production and maturation can take an additional 2 to 3 weeks or longer.
Harvest Period: Coriander seeds are typically ready for harvesting once the plant turns brown and starts to dry. This could take 5-6 months. Cilantro, however, can be harvested as early as 3-4 weeks after planting the seeds.
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Sustainability and Conservation
Sustainability continues to be a top priority for gardeners in 2024. Consider using organic gardening practices, composting, and conserving water in your herb garden. By nurturing your herbs responsibly, you not only enjoy fresh flavours but also contribute to a healthier planet.
Whether you're an experienced green thumb or just beginning your herb gardening journey, the Summer season is the perfect time to get started! Get your hands in the soil, nurture your herbs, and savor nature’s delicious rewards!
Happy herb gardening!