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I’ve been working on a project this year to grow some herbs in an old Belfast sink that my Brother gave me. Everything has been grown from seed and I’ve had so many more plants grow than expected! I hope that by growing herbs myself from seed I’ll get bigger plants for a lot cheaper than shop bought plants.
I’ve done my research and noted what kind of situation each herb prefers and will try to group similar ones together. I’ve also thought about how I want to use these herbs in my cooking (or drinking!)
Basil, being a Mediterranean herb, likes sun, well drained soil and some shelter. It doesn’t like wet roots overnight so should be watered in the morning. I want to grow enough to make a delicious pesto and if I have enough I can freeze some for winter.
Coriander is native to hot Southern Europe and Northern Africa so loves sunshine. However, it doesn’t like drying out and can bolt if the soil dries up too much. Therefore, keeping it in a container will make it easy to keep on top of watering. I love coriander as a garnish on Indian and Mexican foods, and I use the stalks in the dishes themselves. If I have a lot, I’l try freezing the leaves, and might make a coriander oil to freeze as well.
I’ve grown mint in the past, and everyone says to be careful planting it out as it will take over a bed. I’ve never had such a experience, as my mint plants have always died! Reading up on it, they’re thirsty plants so should be watered well especially in hot weather. I will keep this separate, just in case this year is wildly successful and it takes off! Mint is delicious mixed in with other herbs and veg in a cous cous dish. I’ll no doubt be using some in Pimms and G&T’s over summer.
I’m new to growing sage and I’ve had to be patient with the seeds, it has taken an age to germinate. It doesn’t like its roots to stay wet for too long. I hope that I get some nice big leaves which I can cook and use like a really flavoursome crisp!
Chamomile likes a lot of water and clipping to keep it bushy. The flowers are harvested when they are newly opened and can be dried to make a lovely, calming tea. I love drinking a cup with flowers in it!
Chives like to be well watered in well drained soil and will grow well in the sun or shade. I love to use these as a garnish on dishes which have onion in them. I’ve never managed to get my chives to flower, but if I get any flowers I’ll eat them as well. I’ll maybe try freezing some chives in ice cubes to use in cooking later in the year.
Unlike many of the other herbs I’m growing, thyme is quite drought tolerant. They still don’t enjoy being kept dry, but they enjoy very different growing conditions to the soft herbs I’m growing, so I’ll keep it in its own pot. I like to throw a sprig of thyme into casseroles and soups.
Oregano likes the sunshine and to be in well drained soil. I’ll add this into pasta sauces and maybe to sprinkle over other Italian dishes to add a little flourish.
Thai basil likes similar growing conditions to regular basil. I’ll be using it in stir fries and might also make a pesto from it if I get enough.
Looking at that list, I think I’ll definitely need more space than one sink. My intention is to put the basil, coriander, chamomile, thai basil, oregano and chives in the sink. The sage, thyme and mint will go into separate pots and sit around the sink. After potting, I’ll cover the soil with a layer of grit. Not only does it look pretty, but it helps keep moisture in the soil and stops soil splashing the plants when watering.