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Give it a Grow: Herbs



Have you ever bought a pot of basil from a supermarket? How long has it lasted? Well here’s a tip to prolong the life and usefulness of this delicious herb.
Take it out of the plastic pot and you’ll see just how many basil plants are crammed into this one space; they long to be freed! Basil prefers to have space and thrives with just one plant per pot, so carefully prise apart the tangled web of congested roots and plant one to three plants into a fresh pot of soil. Any indoor plants need a pot with holes in (for drainage), which is placed in another container/ pot, to enable watering. [Pop into our local charity shop for a wide selection of containers/ pots, which can be used for this purpose.]
Leave on a sunny window sill and water frequently but do not drown it (as they don’t like to sit in water), and watch it grow. The leaves have a lovely scent, will become much larger and can be picked off individually to be enjoyed in salads, mixed with pasta, and are especially nice with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and olive oil: a treat on a warm summer evening. [Also, if you pinch out the new shoots from the top of the plant, it makes the plant bushier, so the more you eat, the more the plant will produce!]
If you don’t have access to soil or pots, you could ask a neighbour if they could spare some, or you could experiment with placing a few of the basil plants in a jar with a small amount of water in the bottom, changing the water frequently to stop it stagnating/ going smelly.


A garden herb that ticks all the boxes! Edible leaves and flowers, attractive to pollinating insects, beautiful purple and green colours, comes back year after year (even in cold weather), has pretty seed heads which spread easily (or can be saved for new plants next year), can be encouraged to flower twice a year (May and August, if cut low after flowering in May). If you’re unsure where to get hold of some chive plants, ask your local Master Gardeners; they may even be able to give you some for free, to get you started!

Emily's chives

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