Sum­mer herbs

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Regional Extra - WITH DEBBI GIBSON, HOR­TI­CUL­TUR­AL­IST

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.

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