Herbs are an essential part of cooking; enhancing the flavour of your favourite dishes at home as well as being an integral part of recipes used in restaurant kitchens, they can completely transform your dining experience. Not only are they important in balancing the flavour of your meal, but they are also packed with vital nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Today, they have a crucial role in the preparation of food. If you’re looking to incorporate unique flavours to your favourite recipes or are merely looking to add a new dimension, altering a classic dish to make it more interesting, then herbs are the perfect option for you. However, with so many herbs widely available, it is sometimes tricky to decide which are essential for you to have as part of your pantry!
One of the best ways to ensure that your herbs are fresh is by growing them at home. With a personalised herb crate taking pride of place in your kitchen, you can soon be growing some of your favourite options, having them always on hand to add to your cooking. Growing herbs in your kitchen requires a little planning to make sure that you’ve got the perfect condition for them to grow.
Lighting and Location
Light is the most vital thing for you to consider when growing your herbs, as too little light can stop them from growing to the best of their ability. If you have a south-facing window, they have the best chance of giving your herbs the right amount of sunlight each day. The optimal number of hours of daylight that you’re looking for when growing herbs commonly found in cooking is six hours, although parsley and chives can survive with slightly less. With this in mind, if the sun is unevenly hitting your windowsill, turn the herb planter every couple of days to evenly distribute the light.
Another thing to consider when looking for a perfectly-lit location is the warmth that the sun provides. There needs to be good circulation in the area that your herbs are located; however, you need to pick a spot that doesn’t get too cold – an ideal temperature for this is 12-18ºC.
Using your personalised herb crate, you need to ensure that you have the drainage set up correctly. This is important as if your herbs are sat in too much water, they can begin to rot and wilt, therefore, be unusable. Check out our guide here if you’re unsure of how to set up the drainage system of your planter crate correctly in order to avoid this.
Herbs can grow quite fast, so it is important to allow them space to grow. Filling your pot with a coarse compost will aid the draining process of your planter crate, as well as allowing the compost to settle into position, which is standard during the first couple of days post-planting.
Herbs that are suitable for growing in your kitchen can come in either seed form or pots. If you’re replanting a herb plant, make sure that you loosen up the roots of the plant before placing it in, as this will allow it to grow well into your soil. However, for seeds, make sure that the soil is damp before sprinkling the seeds on top of the soil. Once patted into place, cover with a plastic bag. This will retain the moisture and is an important step if this is how you’re planning on growing herbs. Seeds will require the soil to be consistently damp, although not too wet, so whenever you feel as though it is getting dry, sprinkle it with water once again.
Depending on the sort of herbs that you’re growing, they will require a different care routine post-planting. Basil, chives and coriander are considered soft herbs, which means that they are incorporated into dishes at the end of the cooking process. Because of this, the best care method for them is not to do anything that could ruin their structure. Regularly pruning or snipping back for harder options ensures that they are sturdier. Both varieties need regular watering but be careful not to be over-zealous as you do so!