LIKE vegetables, many herbs grow best in the summer warmth.
Some are fragrant and bring a waft of perfume to the garden.
Fresh kitchen garden herbs can enhance cooking as they team well with many summer growing veggies.
Herbs can be annuals or perennials and need basically the same care and maintenance as other plants.
They need full sun, at least five hours each day, to bring out the true flavor.
Most prefer good well- draining soil, with regular water and mulch, especially during hot dry weather.
Herbs don’t need much fertiliser; too much leads to excessive foliage growth with little flavor.
At this time of the year, when they are in full production mode, feed with a weak seaweed solution fortnightly.
Herbs tend to produce more when they are picked and tip pruned often.
This also helps to keep the plants bushy and compact; otherwise they may become too lanky or woody.
The tip growth is also the sweetest flavor.
Don’t allow them to flower or they lose flavor and don’t pick all the leaves off as some are needed to sustain future growth.
Herbs like rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, basil, lemon balm and chives, can be pruned back by half to control the size and spread and encourage fresh new growth.
Make bunches from the prunings and hang them to dry, perfect for the winter hotpots.
Herbs do well in pots and containers and benefit from a quarter- turn every few days to maintain their shape as they naturally grow towards the light and may grow lopsided.
Herbs are versatile and can be planted in a designated herb garden, scattered throughout the ornamental garden, used as a companion planting in the veggie garden to deter pests and insects or grown in pots and containers.
They are easy to grow and look and smell great in the garden.
Happy gardening. Catch Debbi Gibson’s ‘In Your Garden’ program on 1566 3NE every Saturday morning from 8 to 9am. Call in your enquiries on 5722 2999.