Edible garden: Making the most of herbs

Herbs are a handy addition to any vegetable garden.

Rosemary has many uses. Photo / Thinkstock
Rosemary has many uses. Photo / Thinkstock

Now is a good time to plant hardy herbs such as chives, rosemary, thyme and sage, or to take hardwood cuttings from those you already have.

Cut off a piece of stem, remove the leaves from the bottom half and plant it - just make sure you have the cutting the right way up.

To increase or rejuvenate thyme, lemon verbena, lemon balm, bergamot and mint, dig the clumps up, divide them or select fresh new shoots and roots and replant. Most herbs need a sunny spot and sandy soil. Bergamot's the odd one out here: it likes semi-shade and rich compost.

Lemon verbena, lemon balm, artemisia, bergamot and sage are hardy herbs and great for making teas. Lemon verbena leaves are also delicious crumbled into custards or cakes.

You can add lemon balm leaves to fruit salads or stewed fruit. Sage tea, with lemon and honey, is meant to soothe sore throats. Lemon balm tea is said to preserve youth. We can always hope. If you want to grow angelica, be careful to buy Angelica officinalis, with light-green, non-glossy leaves, not Angelica pachycarpa.

- NZ Herald

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