Growing your own herbs is a very rewarding task that can help to save money and reduce waste. They don't take up much space and you don’t have to buy a huge bunch of parsley for a single recipe and then end up with the rest rotting in the bin.
So we've put together an informative guide to building both outdoor and indoor herb gardens.
Here's what you will need to get started:
First and foremost, you are going to need space. You are going to need an area that's clear and easily accessible - for watering the plants - which also has a steady supply of sunlight for the plants.
Ideal locations are window sills, kitchen worktops or on a veranda.
Most plants and vegetables require sunlight for a full day cycle (around 6-8 hours) while others will require less, be sure to check online or on the info card that comes with the plants to ensure you have the right plants for your area.
You may have to move certain plants to maximise their light intake at different times of the year and in Scotland, it may be best to begin with hardier plants.
The best time to plant will be February\March onwards, right through into Summer.
The basic essentials you'll need to begin your herb garden are:
When you begin you'll want the right pots for the plants you intend to grow - and of course it helps to have spares - you want to make sure they are big enough, and have enough depth to allow the plants' roots to develop.
Make sure each plant has plenty of room and space to grow.
You'll also want to ensure any pot or container you use will have the correct amount of drainage, as herbs hate to site in water-logged soil.
And speaking of soil...
Try to use potting mix, which is a soil designed for containers and small pots, this type of soil is designed to be used for smaller, indoor plants.
The mix will tend to dry out quickly so do try to ensure your plants are well - but not over - watered.
It will be useful to have a decent watering can, which you can get quite cheaply from your local pound store or garden centre.
Also a trowel is handy (but not essential) especially if you decide to move your plants to bigger pots.
The all important herbs
These are split into several categories but the first and most important category - and essentially the first choice to be made - is whether to grow from seeds or to buy established plants.
Though there will be a better variety for seeds, propagation can be tricky, so for this guide, we'll stick to established plants. These can be purchased from your local garden store or DIY store.
The next category to look out for will be whether the plant is:
Annual and Biennials: These plants are fast growing and may require regular sowing to ensure a fresh supply
Annual Examples: basil, coriander and dill
Biennial Examples: caraway, chervil and parsley
Perennials: These are slow growing and may require a more permanent base.
Examples: chives, fennel, mint, sage, tarragon and thyme
Here is a guide to some of the more popular herbs for growing indoors:
The perfect herb for beginners, it smells and tastes great and is easy to grow. Quite an expressive plant, it is easy to tell when it's happy and healthy.
Flavour: Slightly sweet and peppery
Perfect for: Salads, pastas, wraps, soups and pizza
How to harvest: Harvest the upper leaves first, taking just a few leaves from each stem at a time
Parsley comes in two types curly (pictured) and flat leaf. Quite sturdy, it's the perfect plant for growing indoors and is useful in many soups and salads.
Flavour: Clean, light and peppery
Perfect for: Salads and soups
How to harvest: Cut the outermost stalks just above ground level, which will encourage further growth.
One of the most economical herbs you can grow, as the whole plant can be eaten from the bulbs to the flowers.
Flavour: Sweet and sharp
Perfect for: The bulbs taste like mild onions, the leaves and flower heads can be used in salads.
How to harvest: Cut the leaves with scissors, starting with the outside leaves first, allowing about 2 inches of the leaves to remain.
Brought to Britain by the Romans, who used it in a lot of their cuisine, Mint is an extremely versatile herb. It's refreshing flavour means it can be chewed on its own or added to a variety of dishes.
Be careful though, it is quite an invasive species so be sure to plant it on it's own and has plenty of space away from other plants.
Flavour: Refreshing and sharp
Perfect for: Salads, desserts and drinks
How to harvest: Pinch off sprigs as you need them
Extremely easy to care for and easy to grow, Thyme is the perfect herb for those who like to cook a variety of meals.
Flavour: Spicy and savoury, clove like
Perfect for: Flavouring meats, stews and soups
How to harvest: Simply cut off pieces of the stem as you need it.
Extremely easy to care for, this strong flavoured herb is perfect for adding flavour to fish dishes.
Flavour: clean, anise, subtle lemon hints
Perfect for: Providing a tangy addition to pickles, salad dressing and fish dishes.
How to harvest: Don't start harvesting dill until it's at least 12 inches tall, and never take more than one-third of the leaves at any one time.
Below is a video from Wickes, which will show how to build your own outdoor raised herb garden. Remember in Winter time - especially - in Scotland extra care will be needed to prevent the plants being harmed by frost.
The tools you'll need for the outdoor herb garden:
• Hand saw
• Garden Fork
• Power drill
• Watering Can
The materials you'll need:
• 3 x sleepers (one will need to be halved)
• 8 x 150mm coach screws
• peat free compost
• wood preserver (for the sleepers)
Most of the herbs listed in this article are great for growing outdoors but should you wish to try other varieties then Rosemary, Coriander and fennel are other great herbs you can try.
Remember to pot up your outdoor plants and bring them inside for winter if you want them to survive.
Now all you have to do is get out there and grow some delicious herbs. Good luck.