Picture this: You’re cooking a recipe that requires fresh herbs, and then realize you have to stop everything you’re doing just to go out to buy the herbs the recipe calls for. So, you head to a supermarket and buy a nice bunch, but end up using only a handful. Then, you forget about these herbs, until you’re left cleaning out a rotten pile they’ve now become, from the bottom of your fridge.
What if I told you that there’s an easy way out? What if there’s a win-win situation in which you get the absolute freshest of herbs without anything being wasted? Well, there is. All you have to do is grow your own herbs at home.
Although that may sound intimidating, you don’t need to have a green thumb or be a farming expert to grow your own herbs, you just need patience and a will to follow through. The brilliant part is that you don’t even need a full-fledged garden to grow your herbs, a small balcony or a windowsill is perfectly acceptable.
Given the daunting task of continuously having to clean our rotten herbs from my own fridge, I set out on my own task of doing what you may call “herb research”. I visited Groenmyn Kwekery just outside Kimberley for some expert advice.
Riana Steyn and the team were brilliant in assisting me with choosing the right options for my impending herb garden and it’s only fair that I share some of that knowledge with you. First, let us delve into making life easier. There are different herbs you can grow, sticking to the most basic and commonly used ones would probably be the best option given that we are only at the beginner’s stage. You have your soft herbs, which are basil, chives, and coriander, which require a lot of care and attention while they’re being grown, as they’re extremely delicate. Then you have your woody herbs, which are thyme, rosemary, and sage. These to need to be watered often, as their branches tend to get dry very fast.
The easiest way to start growing your own herbs at home would be to use herbs that are already pre-potted you can also find these at selected supermarkets. If you want to give it a shot with seeds, you’re more than welcome to, but it will be harder and will require a lot more work.
As far as the pots that you plant your herbs in go, any will do; but keep in mind the most important thing, which is drainage. Your pot will need access for the water to drain out of. Terracotta pots are your best bet, as they are heft, as well as appealing as far as looks go! You will have to watch out for them drying up your herbs though, as they tend to conduct heat.
Let’s talk about watering your herb, you will need to do this at least once a day. During the summer, it’s best to water them in the evening, so the water manages to make its way to the roots before drying up. They will also need as much sunlight as possible, so find a place in your home where sunshine is in abundance.
You should always remind yourself to never overcrowd your herbs, as they need breathing space to grow out efficiently. You will also have to make sure you trim your herbs every once in a while, to stop them from flowering. After all, the herbs are what you want, not the flowers, right?
If you follow these simple rules, you will have a collection of fresh herbs with which you will be able to easily cook delicious, flavorful meals.