Grow Your Own Italian Herbs

It’s no secret that we think the freshest ingredients are the best, our partnership with Family Mealtimes shows that, however laying your hands on great organic produce can be tricky. The supermarket versions of live herbs seem to last only a week on the window sill and the flavours are never quite as deep as those that scatter Italian restaurant dishes.

It is quite simple though to grow your own at home, it doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment, a terrace or a room in a shared house, all Italian herbs need are a little light and a lot of love!

Basil

The live basil available from many shops wilts within days as producers generally scatter many seeds overcrowding the pot so as soon as it’s ready to pick the roots become compacted within the soil. You can buy your own seeds, some compost and a pot ensuring you have all year round basil for a fraction of the price. Basil can be planted outdoors once the threat of frost has disappeared in May however here in the north we recommend you grow it inside. Try to resist the temptation to sow all the seeds at once as you can sow every month to ensure a fresh young crop whenever you need it.

Basil adores sunlight and drainage so we make sure some old ceramic pieces line the bottom to allow water to flow freely. We also pick a sunny spot on a draft free windowsill or close by so it benefits from the available light.

The youngest basil is the tastiest, sweet and succulent you’ll want to eat it alone, if adding to dishes try adding at the last moment so you benefit from the full flavour.

Oregano

Oregano will grow well outside in almost any climate however it will sleep over the winter. For the best results, sow indoors and let it live with you as the northern outdoors varieties harden to the weather creating tough stems that no one really wants to chew on when enjoying an Italian meal!

It’s so easy to grow you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it before, as simply scatter 10 to 20 seeds on ready prepared compost in a pot and cover with a thin layer of soil, water to avoid drying out and watch your Italian herbs come to life.

Personally we think these fragrant herbs make for the best houseplants, and always add the aroma of Italy to your abode!

Once you have the bug expand your range with rosemary, garlic, garlic chives and maybe even a tomato plant or two as if you grow tomatoes alongside basil they absorb the rich tea aroma!