I love getting a parcel in the post. It reminds me of being a child awaiting Christmas presents from distant relatives. Well, this week I received a parcel that brought back those childhood memories. I had ordered 15 culinary herbs from Mudbrick Cottage Herb Farm so that I could plant a herb wall garden right outside my kitchen. I can’t wait to use them in my cooking.
When the parcel arrived my children helped unwrap it. Each herb was carefully enclosed in damp newspaper and we took our time to remove the tape to make sure we didn’t damage any of the seedlings. We sat the seedlings in a tray of water, as instructed, then placed them into the prepared pots which we had filled with good quality potting mix.
Once they were all in we gave them a good drink. The advantage of a herb wall garden is that as you water the top row it runs through the pots and waters the plants underneath. A great water-efficient system!
****Herb Wall Garden****
An amazing assortment of 15 culinary herbs right outside your kitchen door?
YES PLEASE!!!! Read all about them here: https://familygardenlife.com/2018/10/19/an-awesome-herb-wall-garden-that-will-make-you-want-one/
Posted by Family Garden Life on Friday, 19 October 2018
You’ll find most herbs prefer full sun but they can survive on as little as 2 good hours (after 9 am) a day. The benefit of more sun is that their taste improves and their scent will be stronger. Most herbs need good drainage and grow best in a light crumbly soil which is slightly alkaline. Herbs benefit from good fertilisation as well. Mudbrick Farm Herb Cottage uses mushroom compost, worm castings and homemade compost with chook poo to improve the nutrients in the soil. To maintain water, insulate the ground and help to prevent weeds they mulch with sugar cane.
Herbs which are grown in pots, like ours, need a little bit more care than those which are planted in the ground. Make sure your pots have good drainage, use a good quality free draining compost and fertilise them every couple of weeks. It is better to water herbs deeply once they are settled in, rather than a light sprinkling often. When the soil in the pot feels dry, give them a really good soaking.
Herb Wall Garden
Now, let’s talk about the herbs we chose for our wall garden.
Did you know mizuna greens are part of the brassica family? They are commonly used in Japan and often described as Japanese ‘water greens’. Mizuna is considered to be the mildest of the ‘Mustard Greens’ in terms of taste. You can eat them raw in salads, cook them in vegetable stir-fries or use them to replace leafy greens such as spinach. Mizuna’s early leaves can be harvested at day 20 but they reach their full maturity between day 40 – 45. This herb is identified as a ‘superfood’ because it’s jam-packed with vitamins and minerals.
Rosemary is a woody shrub native to the Mediterranean. Once established it is tolerant of dry periods, requires full sun and is generally hardy. This herb is a chef’s favourite as it is seen as a ‘jack of all trades’ as it is so versatile. Great with roasted potatoes, to flavour beef, fish or to use as a skewer for the BBQ. You can even use it to make a brush to marinate whilst you cook.
If you’re looking for an intense flavour, this is the herb to get. Variegated apple mint can be used fresh or dried in drinks and cooking. It makes a lovely flavour in a fruit salad, added to water to provide flavour or to make a refreshing tea. It compliments potatoes and will really enhance the flavour of a summer salad.
5. Wild Rocket
Wild Rocket is a leafy vegetable, a relative of radish and watercress and has a stronger, more pungent flavour than the more widely used ‘Salad Rocket’. This culinary herb has been used since Roman times as it has a great ability to adapt to different growing conditions. It can be served in salads, lightly steamed as a vegetable green, placed on pizza, in a sandwich or served with meat or fish. The flowers are also edible.
You’ll find golden oregano a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean. It prefers well-drained soil in full sun. Use it fresh or dried in cooking and compliments tomato based sauces such as spaghetti bolognese or pizza sauce. It can also be used to flavour meat or fish. You’ll find it works really well with parsley or basil. Oregano is good medicinally for colds, flu, fever, stomach upsets and indigestion. It can also be used for muscular pain or arthritis. Grow next to brassicas such as broccoli to help repel insects.
Salad Burnett is a hardy Mediterranean perennial herb. It has a clean flavour like cucumber and is mainly grown for salads. Use it as a replacement for lettuce in sandwiches or put into cooked dishes such as soup at the last minute. You can even add it to herb butter, put into sauces or even cool drinks.
8. Coriander Perennial
The leaves on this coriander are long with a serrated edge. It has a stronger flavour to regular coriander and will put up with more cooking. You’ll find it flowers profusely and the prickly headed flowers must be pruned regularly to promote new growth. The leaves can be used in curries, stir-fries, soups and salsa. With the flower heads, you can also use them to make a spicy paste by processing with ginger, garlic, chilli and sesame oil. This can be stored in the fridge and used in cooking or even to add flavour to cheese and biscuits. This perennial coriander will not bolt like regular coriander and will be happy to grow in hot, humid conditions.
You can’t go past curly parsley for an easy to grow herb and it also doesn’t mind moderate sunlight. It should be harvested at the sides as new growth comes from the centre of the stem. Use it in soups, salads, herb butter, stir-fries and as an essential part of Lebanese tabbouleh. It works well with thyme and bay leaves and is part of a bouquet garni. This herb is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and it can even be used as a breath freshener.
10. Mushroom Plant
If you’re after a herb that sounds and tastes amazing, then this mushroom plant is pretty awesome. The mushroom plant is a perennial native to New Guinea and I know why they love it so much. Its leaves are mushroom flavoured and you can use it raw in sandwiches and salads. It can also be added at the end to omelettes, quiche, soups or stir-fries. Full of nutritional content, the leaves are rich in calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and this herb is even higher in protein than mushrooms. Plant in rich, fertile soil in a warm, semi-sunny position. Keep an eye on this herb during the cooler months, as it will need to be protected from frost.
The African blue basil is a perennial herb, I know….who knew that basil lasted all year. It is a sterile hybrid of East African camphor basil and Dark Opal. It does not bolt. The flowers can be harvested to add to salads or sauces and it will continue to grow. It has a camphor scent and a strong basil flavour. This allows you to harvest basil all year round.
Nasturtiums display the prettiest flowers. They are a very hardy plant and easy to grow and provide flowers that are bright orange, red or yellow. All parts of the nasturtium are edible and have a peppery taste. The flowers add colour to a salad or can be used as a beautiful garnish to any dish. You’ll find the large leaves can be used in salads or like a lettuce leaf, to wrap other food such as rice and the seeds pickled in vinegar and used as a caper substitute. It is also a great companion plant as it attracts pests such as cucumber beetle and aphids, taking them away from your vegetables. Plus you’ll find it super helpful in your food garden with pest attacks and attracting beneficial insects.
Chicory red Treviso is an Italian heirloom variety that is named after the place it originated in Italy. It has large, elongated heads that start off green and white and mature to red. With a slightly bitter flavour chicory is best used in salads or it can be grilled and eaten with olive oil or added into risottos.
The herb lovage is a perennial that resembles a tall celery when grown. Its flavour is richer and fuller than celery so it should be used sparingly. You can add it to any dish that you would use celery such as soups, salads and stocks. It can be used for digestive problems such as colic, flatulence or indigestion. You’ll also find it can be used to make a strong tasting tea. It requires a deep, rich, moist soil to grow in a sunny to semi-shaded spot.
15. Jekka’s Thyme
Another perennial that produces small white flowers in spring and summer is the gorgeous Jekka’s Thyme. Thyme likes a well-drained soil in a sunny position. Its leaves can be used for stews, soups, meat, vegetable and fish dishes. Thyme is antiseptic and can be used for colds and coughs or externally for bites, aches and pains. Prune it regularly when it is young to ensure lots of soft growth for use in cooking.
Mudbrick Cottage Herb Farm is your one-stop shop for all herbs. Head over and take a look at what they have available and you will enjoy new flavours in your cooking for years to come.