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Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

May

Any herbs sown in April will need to be thinned out. Sow dill and parsley now. Basil seedlings should be planted 15in. apart, or into pots. Cuttings can be taken of marjoram, sage and thyme - remove the lower leaves and cut straight across the bottom of the stem, just below a joint. Insert round the edges of a pot filled with a sandy soil. If cold or windy, protect with a cloche or put into the cold frame. Make new plants by dividing mint and thyme. Now is the time to plant your new herb bed, or put a variety into pots, as near to the kitchen as possible.

Buy seeds from Thompson and Morgan.

June

Rosemary and sage cuttings can be taken now. Mint, sage and thyme should now be ready to pick. Herbs such as parsley, mint and chives will keep well in the freezer and add flavour when cooking. Wash the leaves and chop the chives to their usable size. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, then rinse in cold water. Put straight into the freezer in plastic bags. Keep weeds down but don't worry too much about watering. Herbs are used to warm weather but if they show signs of wilting, watering will resurrect them.

July

Further sowings of chervil, dill and parsley can now be made in open ground. As a rule of thumb pick herbs just before they come into full bloom and in dry conditions to get them at the peak of their flavour. If harvesting herbs for storing they will need to be dried quickly in a warm well ventilated area – airing cupboard, warm ventilated spare room etc. Shallow cardboard boxes are ideal containers – turn the herbs once a day – they are ready for storage when they are ‘brittle’ dry. Lavender can be cut for drying in the first week of the month. Cut the whole flower stalk just as the flowers are starting to open and tie them in loose bundles for hanging upside down in a greenhouse or warm shed. When completely dry rub the fragrant flowers from the stems and store them in your preferred containers for immediate use or keep airtight for later.

August

Now is the time to increase your stock of herbs such as bay, lavender, mint, rosemary, sage etc by taking cuttings. Push the cuttings into sandy soil in the open ground and protect from the direct sunlight and effects of the wind for the first two weeks making sure the soil is kept moist until the roots have started to form. The cuttings can be put into pots instead and protected in a cold frame.

Buy seeds from Thompson and Morgan.

September

Parsley can be sown now for cropping in Spring. Bergamot can be divided and replanted. Bay and lavender cuttings can be taken now and should be placed in a cold frame.

October

You can still take cuttings of such things as bay and lavender and put them in a cold frame or under cloches. Roots of mint can be divided and either planted out in the open or into pots to encourage growth for winter usage.

November

Clear herb beds of basil, parsley, fennel and dill which have had a second season. Dig over the cleared ground ready for planting later. To encourage shoots, cover Parsley sown in September with cloches.

Buy seeds from Thompson and Morgan.

December

Move bay trees in pots into a sheltered position, or if you have room, into the greenhouse. Mulch perennial herbs with leaf-mould which will provide some protection. Mark mint, chives etc. with a stick so that you don't disturb the roots once they have died down.

January

Plan your herb beds, preferably in a south-facing, sunny position. A bed which slopes slightly to the south is ideal. Alternatively you can plant herbs amongst your vegetable patch or in pots to stand on your patio, near to the kitchen door. Cartwheel shaped beds or knot gardens will take more planning but will look very attractive. Order seeds for Spring sowing or place orders with nurseries.

February

Prepare a new herb plot by digging the soil over and lightening it if necessary by digging in peat or compost. Herbs grow best in a sheltered position and a small hedge of something like lavender, sage or roses will be both fragrant and functional.

Buy seeds from Thompson and Morgan.

March

Herb beds and wheels can be sown as soon as the soil has warmed up. Sow chives, dill, parsley and marjoram in successional sowings in small quantities. Lift, divide and replant old clumps. Fennel roots can be divided and replanted. Basil can be sown under glass in the greenhouse. Most herbs can also be planted in pots and placed just outside the kitchen door.

April

Sow further successional sowings of herbs and keep beds and pots weeded. Seeds sown in March should be thinned and gradually hardened off. If you took cuttings in Autumn, plant these out now. Lavender or rosemary makes a good protective boundary in herb beds, providing shelter. Weak and straggly stems should be cut back.

Gardening information, hints and tips on how to grow herbs in your garden including sowing, picking and preserving, propagating and general care advice.