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Herbs & Vegetables

        Last month we looked at making compost. This month we are preparing the ground for our
        herbs and planting those perennial and shrubby herbs that will form the structure of the
        herb garden.
                                                  Sowing Shrubby Herbs

                                                    Gardening is all about planning, preparing the ground ready for
                                                    sowing or planting to reap later and pruning to increase the yield
                                                    of fruit or flowers. If you enjoy using herbs in the kitchen then now
                                                    is the time to start thinking about preparing the ground and
                                                    planting the first of the herbs to enjoy this spring. The first thing to
               3 part guide                         do is make a list of the herbs you use and the second is to draw a
                                                    plan. I cannot remember how many times I have planted out a
                                                    herb garden without a plan, here and back in the UK, and then
                                                    had to move plants about because they were smothered,
                                                    shrubby herbs that can be purchased as small plants. This is the
                       harvest                      overshadowed or unreachable. This month we concentrate on the
                                                    time of year to plant them on.
                                                    A herb garden should be in full sun, or at least as much sun as
                                                    possible. Ideally, it should be close to the kitchen door. There is
                                                    little more satisfying, or tasty, than nipping out to cut fresh herbs
                                                    to use immediately. If you are growing herbs in pots, then access
                                                    to them is not a problem. If, on the other hand, you are growing on
                                                    open ground then it is worth considering how you will reach those
                                                    herbs at the back of the garden without treading on plants.

                                                    Consider that when it rains here, it tends to be torrential, so being
                                                    able to cut herbs whilst the ground is sodden is a good idea.
                                                    Gravel paths between the plants work well until the weeds start to
                                                    poke through the gravel. Without using weed killers, they are
                                                    difficult to eradicate. Single flags or paving tiles spaced at
                                                    intervals works well.
                                                    Many shrubby herbs are native to the Mediterranean. These
                                                    include sage, thyme, rosemary, sweet bay, marjoram and its less
                                                    spicy cousin oregano and the culinary lavenders. Typically they do

   38                               January 2019
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