Right plant, right place
As a general rule most herbs enjoy growing in full sun, in fertile soils with good drainage. If you’re planting herbs into heavy clay-based soils it’s good to add in some sandy topsoil, sharp sand or grit along with a garden-made or multipurpose compost. Otherwise simply adding in a few big handfuls of compost into the planting hole will help new plants get established.
Growing in pots
When growing herbs in pots and containers it’s good to combine topsoil and compost in equal parts to create the ideal conditions for you herbs to thrive. You can also add in some grit or stones for Mediterranean herbs that thrive in free draining soils. For perennial herbs - those that keep growing year after year - use a pot that is at least 20cm deep. Annual herbs that only grow for one season will be fine in slightly smaller pots. However, the larger the pot you use, the more abundant your herbs will be.
Keeping herbs happy
During dry spells and warm summer months make sure to water your herbs well once or twice a week. Smaller pots will need more frequent watering as they dry out quickly. It is better to water herbs in the morning than in the evening. If the soil looks dry and your herbs are wilting, give them a drink! Mature plants and those in smaller containers can benefit from being fed with a homemade nettle and comfrey liquid feed or a shop bought liquid seaweed.
If you don’t have a balcony or garden you can still grow herbs indoors on a sunny windowsill. My top choices for window-sills are basil, coriander, parsley, calendula and mint. You can also grow perennial herbs like mint, chives and thyme indoors. For indoor growing, try and use pots that are 10-15cm deep.
The warmth that June brings creates the ideal conditions for seed sowing. Herbs like coriander and basil enjoy a little heat to get them going so do better when sowed at this time. Annual herbs are a good choice for seed sowing because they grow quickly in one season, giving you a good harvest the same year that you plant them. The excitement of a seed sprouting is a feeling that never gets old so I’d encourage you all to have a go. Other easy herbs to grow from seed at this time include parsley, calendula, borage, basil and fennel.