Growing herbs at home means always having a fresh supply available to add flavour to your favourite recipes. From oregano, marjoram, parsley, sage to the edible viola, Paraic Horkan demonstrates from Horkan’s Glen of the Downs store just how easy it is to grow your own herbs!
Now is the perfect time to think about kitchen gardening; the growing of herbs, vegetables, and flowering plants. So many of these plants can be grown in window boxes, pots, containers, patio planters. Paraic’s advice is to pick the herbs that you will use on a regular basis. Parsley is probably the most common kitchen herb but other common herbs are rosemary (which is great with lamb), sage, marjoram (which is brilliant for pizzas or Italian cooking), chives, basil and oregano. Whatever herb you want to grow they are very happy growing in a window box or planter.
The compost Paraic used today was GroWise Multipurpose Compost. To this you need to add some slow release fertiliser, and this will feed the plants for 6 months right through to the end of the summer. Simply add one handful per window box to the soil. Also add some water retentive gel, which as the name suggests will retain moisture in the compost during the growing season. Add about one spoonful to the window box. Herbs love moisture and this will help with watering during the Summer period.
Mix all this into the top couple inches of compost and then we’re ready for planting some herb plants!
Place taller herbs, such as parsley which in time will grow quite tall, to the back. Remember with all herbs the more you use and pick them the more they will grow and produce new growth and better flavour!
Chives can also be placed at the back, they will grow to about a foot in height. Chives produce not only edible foliage but they will also produce beautiful, edible purple flowers during the summer. Chives are perennial which means they will come back year after year.
Sage should also be placed near the rear as this will grow into a nice,large bush. Sage produces wonderfully scented foliage and also produces beautiful flowers.
Marjoram is a trailing herb. It has lovely pink flowers during the summer and is loved by the honey bee, and has beautiful, aromatic foliage. Remember the more you pick and use the foliage the more it will produce new leaves and better flavour.
Oregano, Paraic used a variegated form called Country Cream, is slow growing and perfect for the front of the window box. Oregano is a fantastic herb that is just wonderful in Italian dishes or on top of a pizza.
To add some colour to our window-box we can also add some edible flowers, such as violas. Violas have edible flowers that look simply wonderful. You can add them to salads, or simply use as a garnish to make any dish look stunning, or even in ice-cream! But they are also great for just adding some wonderful colour. About four plants into the edges of the window box is plenty.
All the plants will grow well together. They will compete for space and fill up the window box giving lots of colour over the Summer period. All they now at this stage is a good watering. A key tip is to feed the container with liquid feed every two weeks, something like a tomato feed or OSMO liquid feed.
And that’s it!
Sit your window box on a window sill and it will give you lots of fresh herbs through the Summer! Remember the secret to good herbs is to pick them on a regular basis!
— Paraic Horkan (@paraichorkan) June 17, 2016