Starting an Herb Garden with Monte Don

The real importance of gardening is the empowerment that it gives people, however small or seemingly insignificant their gardens might be. It is surprising how liberating it is, if you can grow anything at all. – Monty Don

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Monte Don's Big Dreams, Small Spaces can frequently be overheard in the studio during work hours. The relaxed yet knowledgeable perspective Monte Don brings to gardening makes it feel realistic for even the most beginner. Below, see some tips for summer planting and starting an herb garden from Notary favorite, gardener Monte Don

"In my opinion herbs are just as important in the kitchen as vegetables and are much, much easier to grow as part of any garden, especially if you are limited to growing containers.

As well as giving you freshness and choice, having your own herbs growing just near the back door has the great advantage of abundance. For the cost of a packet of seed you can raise hundreds of marvelous herbs.

If you buy herbs they always come in dainty little pots with even daintier little plants growing in them. But I think herbs should be grown and used with generosity. I like to pick large bunches of parsley and a basket full of basil as well as an endless supply of mint for drinks.

Herbs are very forgiving plants to grow. Many of our favorites like rosemary, thyme and sage come from the baking hills of the Mediterranean and do best in poor soil. Others, like parsley, coriander, basil and dill are annuals that grow fast and easily.

You may create a dedicated herb garden which will be beautiful as well as useful or you may grow your herbs on a window sill - but everyone that likes to eat can certainly grow some - and everyone should!"

Herbs From Seed

"Growing your own herbs from seed is ridiculously easy and a packet of seeds will cost about the same as a pathetic little pot of supermarket plants and provide the raw material for about a hundredfold harvest. Add to the recipe a bag of compost and a pot or two and you are away.

They don’t all share the same exact cultivation requirements but, other than garlic, which must be planted as individual cloves between October and February, you will not go far wrong with a sprinkle of seed in a seed tray or pot, using a peat-free seed compost.

Once the seedlings emerge, it is important to thin them so that each one has the space and share of water and nutrients to grow into a healthy plant. Look at a supermarket-bought pot of parsley or basil and it will have dozens of scrawny seedlings but the whole pot will not supply half the parsley as one robust plant growing in the same size of pot."

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