It is 7 weeks until the first official day of spring.

It is officially only 7 weeks until the first day of spring, so I thought I would inspire you to grow some new herbs this year because herbs are the one collection of plants that can transform a meal into a feast.   Simply imagine tossing some Chive flowers, Wild rocket, chopped French parsley, amazing red Pak Choi,

some wonderful crunchy Purslane, and some hot spicy Mustard leaves with some Lettuce and you have a salad to whet all palates.

To me herbs fulfil everything one needs in a garden; they  look good, taste good and do you good, what more can you ask of a plant?

Herb garden June

Gardening for the table in landscape terminology is short term gardening.  It allows the gardener to experiment.  It also allows the gardener to be optimistic, for there is ‘always next year’.  So by even growing a pot of herbs on a windowsill or some rows of rocket in a container, it connects what you eat to the process of growing.  That growing process starts from the soil which is the engine of all gardening, be it in a container or a garden plot.   So for those of you who wish to grow your herbs in a window box or container it is well worth investing in a good potting compost .

French Tarragon

When growing plants in containers it is also worth investing in a good liquid fertiliser so that you can regularly feed your herbs.   Why feed the  plants?   Well, this is because the plant will quickly use all the nutrients and minerals from the potting compost and, to keep your herbs productive and healthy when grown in a container, you need to supplement their feed.

If the thought of Spring has inspired you I will be running a Propagation day course for 12 people at the Herboretum on April 6th and April 20th and a Herb garden design day course for 14 people on April 13th and May 4th .  And for those of you in the UK with eagle eyes the first ten of you to email the herb farm  with your postal address will be sent 3 packets of seeds, with our complements, to start your spring sowing.

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New Year, New Chapter

Happy New Year , may 2013 be a bountiful.

At the end of December we started building the first set of raised beds which will house the plants that form the Herboretum.  After much deliberation we have chosen a company called  Woodblocx to supply these raised beds. For, not only had I  seen one of their beds at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show, but I also liked the design concept  which enabled them to be easily assembled on our original hard standings with minimum impact to the established farm.

Cleared Hardstanding December 2012

Henry and James, the proprietors of Woodblocx, kindly came down  from Inverness and spent a day showing us how to build them.

Building the raised beds

It took just three days to build 11  beds.

First side finished

Not only are the beds practical but they also have hidden secrets which makes them unique to the farm.  Hannah sent to Woodblocx drawings of butterflies, bees and herbs which they have etched into the wood  on various beds so creating a treasure hunt for our young visitors.

woodblocx illustrations copy

With the first 10 days in January being so mild we have been making the most of the weather and commenced filling the raised beds.

Filling with a layer of hardcore January 2013

We started with a layer of hard core to help with the drainage followed by a good thick layer of our recycled compost.

Filling with a layer of home made compost

We will then finish with a layer of top soil mixed with sharp horticultural grit.  The beds will then be left to stand for 4-6 weeks to settle so that they can be topped up prior to planting. Whilst these beds are settling in we will build the second set on the other side of the Glasshouse and continue with propagation and potting on so that we are ready for the grand planting and our first Herb Friday.

© Jekka McVicar , Jekka’s Herb Farm,  January 2013.