It seems like bad timing that just as salad season reaches its peak, the heat makes lettuce bolt.
One way of getting round that is to grow the loose leaf or multi-leaf lettuce varieties, from which individual leaves can be harvested. They are less likely to bolt if planted in a cooler part of the garden, ideally in bed that receives morning sun but afternoon shade. Covering a bed with 40 percent shade cloth is another alternative.
In addition to the well known varieties like Lollo Rosso, Lollo Biondo and Red Oak Leaf, there is Multileaf which has four distinct leaf types; a curly green leaf, dark green leaf, red curly leaf with green internal colour and cherry red leaves. It’s available as a mature plant and can be transplanted into the garden or grown in pots.
Get the Healthy Living Herbs Catnip Hanging Basket to ensure a constant fresh supply to your feline friend. It is easy to grow and protected against feline attack. Let it mature, place it in a reachable position and you and your cat can enjoy the catnip effect.
Catnip is a 60-100cm tall perennial herb resembling mint, with greyish-green leaves; the flowers are green-white. This is the catnip that cat's go crazy about.
Catnip has nepetalactone, a terpenoid. Cats detect it through olfactory receptors where it probably mimics a cat pheromone, such as the hypothetical feline facial pheromone or the cat urine odorant MMB.
Catnip hanging baskets available at the following Garden Centres:
Herbs grow so well in pots that there is almost no excuse for not growing your own herbs.
Nothing solves a problem like a pot.No space, not enough sun, heavy clay soil, dogs that dig –the solution to all these problems is to grow herbs in pots. Then they can be squeezed into tiny corners, put on windowsills, balconies or patios, and kept sheltered from draughts and frost.
From an aesthetic point of view, herbs in pots are decorative; they can be used to ‘furnish’ outdoor living areas, act as a feature within a garden, and beautify a kitchen courtyard.
In winter potted herbs can be brought indoors or cared for in a sunny, sheltered spot. There is no need to ever be without herbs.
Ina Paarman loves using herbs in her cooking and her herb garden reflects that passion.
A culinary herb wheel can be a small, simple ‘backyard’ herb garden or it can be scaled up into a magnificent potager, complete with central water feature, and raised beds planted with herbs, vegetables and flowers.
It is no surprise that Ina Paarman, whose popular cookbooks and gourmet food range has made her a household name, has created such a potager. It occupies pride of place in her 5.5 acre garden that overlooks the Constantia vineyards.
How to make a perfumed herb walk using creeping thymes
Most gardens have a pathway and generally we think of it as being necessary to get us from one area to another. But, what if that pathway was also a fragrant, sensory experience every time we walked along it?
A perfumed pathway that is easy to maintain can be created with varieties of creeping thyme. Such thymes grow happily in cracks, between informally laid paving stones or in more regular spaces created by removing alternate pavers.
The beauty of a thyme pathway is that these tough little plants thrive in full sun, relatively poor soil and are very drought tolerant once established.
If you are planting out tomatoes this month allow some space for the herbs that go so well with them.
Basil, oregano, chives, parsley and coriander are the herbs most commonly used with tomatoes, whether they are eaten fresh or cooked as a sauce for adding to pasta, pizza, and chilled summer soup.
Not only do these herbs enhance the flavour of tomatoes, they are also good garden companions because their aromatic foliage tends to repel insects that attack the fruit and leaves. Although there is no documented proof, many gardeners swear that growing basil next to tomatoes improves the taste of the tomatoes.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is the pre-eminent “braai” herb that can be used in marinades for lamb and chicken, as well as for flavouring herb bread and fruity drinks. Adding a few branches of rosemary to the fire releases a heady aroma and adds a smoky rosemary taste to the meat.
Homemade kebabs or sosaties can be made using the dried and stripped stems of the upright growing “Tuscan Blue” rosemary. The flavour of rosemary from the sticks infuses subtly into the meat and veggies.
A basic rosemary marinade combines a sprig of two of fresh rosemary with olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, the juice of a lemon, seasonings and a pinch of curry powder.
Rosemary fruit cup and Rosemary lemonade are both refreshing non-alcoholic drinks. Rosemary Fruit Cup ismade fromhandful of rosemary sprigs, 3 tbs of sugar and two-thirds of a cup of water brought to the boil and simmered for five minutes. The mixture is cooled, strained and poured into a jug full of ice cubes and top with 450ml chilled ginger ale and half a litre of orange juice.
With warm, sunny days it is a perfect time to plan a picnic for friends and family that makes the most of all the herbs that are in abundance right now.
Here’s a challenge. Using the herbs in your garden, see how you can feature a different herb or combination of herbs in each dish or drink on the picnic menu. You will be amazed at the variety of subtle, different flavours.
Chew a fennel seed or nibble on a leaf and immediately the taste buds are infused with the flavour of aniseed. Of all the herb flavours, this is the most distinctive.
Unlike the true aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) that is grown for its seeds and is regarded as a spice, the leaves of anise flavoured herbs like fennel, chervil, tarragon and basil, have a milder taste that impart a delicacy of flavour to savoury foods.
I am surprised by how well my herbs have survived the winter cold and while picking a huge bunch of parsley realized that it is one of nature’s best tonics being handed to me on a plate.
Herbs that help the liver, kidneys and skin in particular to flush away the toxins, and then build up our general level of health, perform a gentle detoxing action that helps to achieve a sense of wellbeing. They are able to do this because they are rich in easily absorbed natural mineral salts and vitamins.