Gardening, Grow Your Own, Guest Posts, Herbs, How To, Planting, Plants, Promotions

Herbs In Pot

“Herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks.” 

– Charlemagne.

For years we’ve known herbs add wonderful depth to our dishes and perform miracles for our health. So with the cold weather now on its way, follow these essential indoor herb growing tricks to ensure your kitchen brims with luscious and rich herbs this autumn.

Engulf them with sunlight

Herbs On Windowsill

Whilst they can look superb perched up in the nooks of your kitchen, the key to herb growing is light. Herbs want lots of it. You want to provide your herbs with at least 6 hours of sunlight – so place them close to a window. Preferably an east facing window, as this will bathe them in a healthy dose of morning light daily, weather permitting!

Basil really loves sunlight. But for winter time or a more shaded location, you’ll find parsley will become your friend.

Regular, consistent water

Watering Can

When you grow herbs indoors you must remember Mother Nature can no longer give her helping hand – water sources such as rain and morning dew are no longer accessible to your plants. This means you must be extra vigilant to provide regular water. Make sure the soil of your herb garden is always damp.

Always water the soil and roots of your herbs, not the top of the plant where water can quickly evaporate in the warmth of your home. This way the soil will retain much more moisture.

Container advice

Indoor Herb Growing Planter

Herbs will be pretty happy in most containers, providing they have plenty of soil per herb. Herbs suck your soil dry of water fast, so the more soil, the more moisture they will have access to. Especially if you are anything like me and forget to water now and again, an indoor windowsill herb garden planter will hold plenty of soil and retain lots of moisture. This means the herbs will be much more forgiving!

Food for food

Herbs On Chopping Board

Should you be feeding your herbs? Absolutely. As you’ll eventually be using these herbs for consumption we suggest you pick a chemical free fertiliser and apply lightly to your herbs every two weeks. You should avoid over fertilising – this can prevent the creation of the herb’s essential oils, reducing their flavour – and who wants to eat bland herbs?

Whatever level you are, there’s a home-grown herb out there for you

For beginners we suggest buying baby herb plants so you don’t have to worry about the germination process. Oregano is incredibly forgiving and grows well even in poor soil. Other herbs we recommend are parsley, mint, chives & thyme.

If you’ve grown herbs before, try growing annual herbs from seed. Leafier herbs will germinate fairly fast so look out for basil, coriander & dill.

If you consider yourself a herb connoisseur, we suggest bulking out your indoor garden with some more exotic and unusual plants. You can grow the quite adaptable Stevia from cuttings or a small plant – now used quite commonly as a natural alternative to refined sugar.

It’s ‘thyme’ to get growing!

Feeling inspired? Check out National Garden Gift Vouchers who are currently running a Herb Garden Competition to help promote growing year-round goodness. They are giving away 25 herb garden packs brimming with thyme, sage, mint, coriander and basil until the end of December 2015.

Find out more on their website: competition.thevouchergarden.co.uk.

Tony StaceyTony Stacey is Marketing Manager at the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the organisation who administer the National Garden Gift Voucher Scheme. HTA are the leading trade association representing the UK garden industry. Tony is incredibly passionate about promoting gardening campaigns to children and non-gardeners to get the nation more green fingered and inspired to grow their own food.

Chimineas, Garden Design, How To, Sally

Chimineas are amazing additions to any garden. Not only do they provide warmth, but they look great and can be used for practical tasks like barbecuing. Clay chimineas in particular can be a real statement piece and bring the flavour of Spain into your back garden. If you are thinking about or have already purchased a chiminea, there are a few tips and tricks you ought to know. These handy hints will allow you to enjoy your clay chiminea for years to come.

Medium_Tortuga_Clay_Chiminea
Medium Tortuga Clay Chiminea

A clay chiminea must be cured before it is used for the first time; this will help prevent cracking and should give your chiminea a longer, happier life. It is a relatively easy process but can take a little time. I recommend making the most of a sunny Sunday afternoon to get this task done.

Step One: Place sand in the bottom of your new clay chiminea. Keep filling it up until the sand reaches ¾ of the way to the lip of the opening. We are doing this to ensure no flames touch the clay directly the first few times we light a fire. The main reason for this is we want to warm our clay chiminea without burning it.

Step Two: Start a small fire, using only bits of paper and kindling. I wouldn’t recommend any larger pieces of wood at this stage. Allow this fire to go out naturally after it has been burning for a few minutes.

Step Three:  Always allow your chiminea to cool after any size fire has been lit within it. Chimineas are great outdoor heaters because they hold and radiate heat. This means that they take time to cool and can remain hot even when the fire is extinguished. Touching a chiminea too soon before it has cooled can result in burns. Remember to empty out your chiminea of all remaining ash, once it has cooled, and do this before starting another fire. If you are an avid composter like me, this ash can be added to the compost bin or used around the base of plants. It is a natural source of potassium so it’s great to help even our acidic soil.

Step Four: Repeat the first three steps, each time allowing your fire to become slightly larger. I would suggest repeating six times. During the third time you light your fire add some larger pieces of wood. The sixth and final fire should be almost the size of the fires you will be regularly making.

And voilá! Your beautiful new clay chiminea is cured, so you can sit back and enjoy it for years to come, without the worry of it cracking or splitting.

Deluxe_Chim_Chimenea_Weatherproof_Cover
Deluxe Chim Chimenea Weatherproof Cover

Other Tips:

  • I would recommend always lining your chiminea with sand for any size fire even after it has been cured. This is an extra step, but it will help prevent cracking.
  • Keep your chiminea dry. Chiminea covers are your best bet if you are looking to leave it outside. If you do leave it out and it gets wet, let it dry completely before use as damp clay will crack under high heat.
  • Fires can be dangerous, be aware of where children and pets are when around any open flame.

 

 

You can also have a look at our video guide to building and curing a chiminea:

Sally primroseSally works in the Marketing team here at Primrose.

She spends most of her spare time looking into the latest developments in social media. Sally loves travel and wants to step foot in every continent in the world. When not travelling the Globe or working, she likes to relax with a bit of DIY.

She is a novice gardener and doesn’t claim to be an expert, anything she learns she will happily pass on.

See all of Sally’s posts.

Gardening, Geoff, How To, Wildlife

My Tiny Plot

1-tinyplotGillian Carson talks through some great ideas for how to make the most of every corner of your garden or allotment, from home growing (and eating!) to creating gorgeous photo spots. She has some great recipes to try out such as banana cake and simple red currant jam, which offer some great inspiration when deciding on things to grow yourself.

Emma the Gardener

2-emmagardenerEmma Cooper shares a variety of fantastic garden related content from photos, videos, reviews to even her very own books. She has a great enthusiasm for sustainable living and gives advice on how to achieve this, with a particular focus on edibles.

You Grow Girl

3-growgirlThis blog started by author Gayla Trail, provides a great insight into the many different sides to gardening, all with a splash of humour. From tips on what to grow, gardening inspiration, recipes and other creative garden goodness, this is definitely a blog not to miss.

The Gardening Shoe

4-gardenshoeNorfolk-based garden enthusiast, Sarah Shoesmith, is a wildlife friendly gardener who posts a great variety of articles. With help from her two chickens Hippy and Herby, Sarah produces a mixture of general advice, gardening trends, tongue-in-cheek humour and beautiful photography.

John Grimshaw’s Garden Diary

5-johngrimshawJohn Grimshaw is Director of the Yorkshire Arboretum and gives personal accounts of his day to day life through the use of his blog. As a botanist and an author, he displays a great knowledge of plants and gardens, showing off many areas of rural England through fantastic high quality photography.

Secret Garden Club

6-secretgardenKerstin Rodgers began a secret restaurant in 2009 and shares her experiences, knowledge and small recipes through her blog. It is full of DIY gardening tips and planting advice with a focus on growing your very own edible garden. If practical learning is more your thing, Kerstin and Zia of the Secret Garden Club run workshops which can be booked through the blog.

The Patient Gardener’s Weblog

7-patientgardenerHelen Johnstone started her blog in 2008 to simply record how her garden developed while taking on an outdoor overhaul. Since then it has become a hugely varied blog with Helen keeping close tabs on comments and interacting with users. Posts on general gardening, weekly updates, Helen’s other interests outside of the garden (such as sewing and crochet), and her ever popular End of Month Views have certainly made The Patient Gardener a regular visit for many keen gardeners.

Floret Flowers

8-floretThe family-run business, Floret Flowers, was founded by Erin Benzakein when she and her family moved from the city to pursue the simple life in rural Washington. While the Benzakein family tend to the flower farm, the company’s online blog is managed by Susan Studer King. This blog is updated very regularly with content mainly consisting of seasonal flower trends, weekly updates, harvesting and flower care tips. The blog itself has a very professional and polished look which is complemented by the wonderful photography, most of which is taken by the Benzakeins themselves.

Garden Betty

9-gardenbettyLinda Ly is a blogger based in Southern California who goes by the pseudonym Garden Betty. Her blog began when she moved from the city to a coastal suburb of Los Angeles and outlines her experiences from garden novice to avid greenfinger. The blog is littered with DIY gardening tips, recipes and high quality photography, all of which has been incorporated into her best-selling book, which was released in early 2015. Linda keeps a great presence on the blog and can be seen regularly interacting with the users in the comments sections.

Urban Gardens


10-urbangardenIf you have a real love for gardening but limited space, Robin Plaskoff Horton of Urban Gardens could be just what you need. Her blog shares some of the weird and wonderful in urban garden design, ideal for city dwellers in tight spaces.

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Bulbs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, Geoff, Grow Your Own, How To, Infographics, Planting

You can have a colourful garden with flowers blooming all year round – just use our simple guide!

Knowing what to plant, when to plant it and where it grows best can be a tricky business. But if you want a colourful garden for every season, all you really need to get dug in are the flowering times. So we’ve created this infographic as a handy visual guide for when flowers bloom. Simply pick the plants for each season that will suit the conditions best in your garden. Then you’ll be sure to have luscious planting whichever time of year!

When Flowers Bloom Infographic

Embed this on your site

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Share!