Beginner's Kitchen Garden: Unbeatable Herbs for Every Kitchen Garden

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The Beginner's Kitchen Garden Mini Series: Unbeatable Herbs for Every Kitchen Garden

episode description

For the next episode in our podcast miniseries, 'The Beginner's Kitchen Garden,' Sarah will be sharing her passion for growing herbs, inspiring you to grow your own. 

Whether you have a window box, balcony, or a larger amount of space, this super rewarding activity is perfect for enhancing your home-cooked meals.

in this episode, discover

  • The best herbs for elevating meals 
  • What to plant and when 

advice sheet

Top tips 

Perfect for those with a small amount of time, space, or knowledge. Sarah says that even if you’re a professional gardener, use this guide to ensure you have all of these trust favourites.

Sarah divides her planting, sowing, and harvesting in the year between August and April and April and August. 

August to April herbs:

  • Parsley 'Gigante di Napoli' – Always very hardy, abundant, and a favourite of chefs. This variety is hardier than traditional British curly parsley. Great for use in a parsley sauce or a tabbouleh. When it’s growing slowly throughout the winter it has a really clean, intense, and grassy flavour. To sow this brilliant variety, soak the seeds in an egg cup overnight. This step will wash the germinator inhibitor from the outside of the seed. The next morning, dry the seeds on some kitchen roll for a couple of hours and plant.
  • Coriander 'Leisure' – Sarah says that in Britain, we always associate coriander with Thai or Indian cuisine and hot and dry climates. In reality, coriander prefers the shoulders of the year and is best sown in late August, to harvest within about three weeks. At Perch Hill, they can even harvest this fantastic herb into November. In a cold frame in the greenhouse, it can go on for even longer. Sow again in February, but when it comes to March, the coriander will bolt in the hot and dry weather. 
  • French sorrel – a herbaceous perennial that will die down, completely disappear and return in February. Sarah adored picking this variety in February and March, cooking its leaves, and removing them from the stems, and adding to yoghurt as a sauce for chicken or fish. Add cooking juices to the sorrel once they’ve cooled and whizz up in a blender from raw to retain the taste and colour. 
  • Chives – These also come up in February, and at Perch Hill, they are grown against a south-facing wall. They will come up and flower and should be cut back. Chives will thrive in the shoulder months of the year, ideal in February, March, and April. These are perennial, so sow once, and they’ll be there forever.

April to August:

  • French Tarragon – A definite must-have in Sarah’s book. Make sure it’s the French variety, characterised by its fresh green leaves, unlike the ‘silver’ Russian variety. Likes good drainage and will die down in the winter. By August and September, it might look a little ropey but keep picking between April and August to ensure that it keeps producing. Make tarragon vinegar, to use up your excess produce!
  • Summer Savory – This aromatic herb reminds Sarah of thyme crossed with oregano. It’s super aromatic and Mediterranean. Delicious if coarsely chopped over tomatoes in the late summer months. It’s great with feta or over a pizza. Sow this annual in March and by April or May, you’ll be able to start picking it until September.
  • Oregano – Integral to Greek cuisine, and a definitely favourite of Sarah’s. It’s essential for cutting through fatty lamb or feta because of its sharp and bright flavour. Sow in March/April to pick through the summer. The flowers are particularly good for bees and butterflies. 
  • Basil ‘Sweet Genovese’ – perfect for a sunny spot by the doorstop or on a window ledge. If it’s starting to look a bit tired, take a stem from it and root in a glass of water. This will give you a great succession of herbs and couldn’t be easier either!