Plant a leafy herb pot

Keep the salads coming with home-grown herbs

by Geoff Stebbings |

You can’t beat a salad livened up with some fresh summer herbs. Pungent coriander, zingy dill, fresh parsley and aromatic chervil. And who doesn’t long for their own home-grown tomatoes and basil?

All these herbs are easily grown from seed. They also prefer a moist, rich soil and if they’re allowed to dry out or be short of nutrients they’ll be prone to flower and set seed. This isn’t a disaster because the flowers are edible, and coriander and dill seeds are useful in the kitchen, too.

But it’s the fresh foliage that’s most wanted, so planting them in pots of rich, multi-purpose compost is perfect for them, as long as you keep them well watered. Most shrubby herbs need a dry soil and full sun but these are all tolerant of part shade and it will actually help them produce lush leaves.

Even with lots of water and feeding these fresh herbs will eventually flower and become unproductive, so for a constant supply, sow a few pinches of seed in pots or cell trays every month from now until August.

Most of these herbs have ferny, green leaves but you can brighten up the planting with edible flowers. Pop in violas or pot or French marigolds, all of which can be used to brighten up summer salads.

Top tips

  1. Fill a pot with multi-purpose compost, adding add controlled-release fertiliser to keep plants well fed all summer.
  1. Sow direct into pots or plant young plants from cell trays into the fresh compost. Avoid root disturbance.
  1. Plant edible flowers for colour and to fill in gaps if bolted plants have to be removed later in the season.
  1. Water thoroughly after planting. Don’t let the plants dry out. Pick leaves from the plants as needed.
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