Summer in the Herb Garden

Summer…That part of the year when, as a gardener, you can finally take a step back and admire the results of the previous twelve months’ hard work!herb-garden

However, there is still work to be done. I have been swotting up on what I *should* be doing in my herb garden at the moment – mine is a little off-track with only moving here a few months ago, but I will be trying to keep in line with the rest of you!

Summer is the time to

  • Keep Calm And Water – If you don’t do anything else, at least do this one! Finally, we are getting the summer we longed for (now I know I wasnt hallucinating when I think about the long, hot summers I enjoyed as a child). As much as we need to keep hydrated, so do our plants. Make sure they are watered daily – pay close attention to plants in pots and containers, as they can dry out surprisingly quickly.
  • Keep on top of weeding – Ahem. I am trying my best with this one, although in my defense I am trying to run and start up several businesses so pulling up weeds is not majorly high up on my To-Do list… I also refuse to use chemicals on the garden so I have the arduous task of pulling them all by hand.
  • Give a deadhead to the following plants after they flower to encourage new growth – Mint, Lavender, Sage, Thyme, Marshmallow, Marjoram, Marigold, Echinacea, Tansy, Vervain, and Lemon Verbena.
  • Plants such as Lemon Balm, St John’s Wort, Lady’s Mantle, Feverfew and Yarrow need to be trimmed back now, as they self-seed and will dominate the garden by spreading all over the place!
  • If you haven’t already, sow seeds of annuals like Basil and Cornflower – they will grow quickly and are quite happy in window boxes and pots. Keep an eye out for those pesky Basil flowers though – once you let it flower it has officially entered retirement!
  • Midsummer marks the beginning of Harvest (As a Pagan, I will be celebrating Lammas in a few days). Enjoy the perks of being able to use fresh herbs in your cooking! Keep trimming your herbs and it will encourage new growth. If you find you are harvesting more than you can realistically use, simply dry bunches of herbs out, or freeze ones for culinary use – put them on a layer of tin foil, then fold another layer of foil over the top. If you want to use herbs in soups/stews/sauces in the depths of winter, cut them into small pieces and add to ice-cube trays, filling the remainder of the space with water. Hey presto, herbal ice-cubes. You could also do this with mint and add to iced tea.

These few jobs shouldn’t take a lot of your time – unless of course you have a giant, sprawling herb garden (In which case, I am envious); however they will ensure that you get the best from your herbs.

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