Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Monday, April 07, 2008

Regional living - the lazy person's approach to gardening 4: the importance of a good herb garden

Rosemary in flower.

Now that you have you compost at least underway, it's time to make your first serious decision, the location of your herb garden. So wander out into the back yard with a beer or a wine, if that takes your fancy.

Herbs are one of God's gifts to cooking, adding to the flavour of our meals. No matter how overgrown my main garden may become, the herb garden seems to survive.

I always have my main two herbs - rosemary and oregano - on hand.

Rosemary, the queen of spices, is central to my cooking. It goes well with so many things, especially meats. It also has a nice smell when crushed. Unlike most common herbs, rosemary is a bush, so you need a little space. Not a lot mind you, if you are like me and use it a lot! Once established it just grows, so it is there whenever you need it.

I also use oregano all the time. The Wikipedia entry on oregano understates its uses. I prefer Greek to Italian oregano, it has a different taste, and I use it in a number of meals. Among other things, when chopped up and added to lemon juice, it makes a very nice marinade for chicken dishes.

Other regular herbs in my garden include sage, basil, thyme, coriander and mint.

The herbs you want will depend upon your own cooking requirements. So sit down outside with your beer or wine and draw up a list. Sometimes one of those cooking compendiums helps since you can browse all the dishes connected with a particular herb.

Please do not get too side-tracked, though. I need you to do a few things.

You have already worked out the general design of your garden. Now you need to look at the herb part. This needs to be close to the kitchen since you will be using it all the time. It also helps if there is some light nearby, since this is one part of the garden you may want to access at night.

Now you have a choice. You have identified your new herb garden. Many people proceed to bed preparation. The really lazy gardener like me does not because I need to be motivated. Instead, I head to the nursery and buy my my first few herbs. With watering, these will survive in shade for a while. Now I have to no choice but to proceed!

In my next post I will look at the lazy person's guide to bed preparation.

Introductory post in series. Previous post. Next post.

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