A Herb Growers Year ~ May
I’m really thrilled about this new feature in the Journal. A herb grower’s year, Laura is a plantswoman with a passion for growing herbs from seed & cuttings, allowing that same sensitivity to nature & the seasons to inform her writing.
May ~ The perfect month to begin growing culinary herbs at home
Image ~ Coriander seedlings
This year Springtime, particularly for the south east of England has brought little rain and many hours of clear blue skies and warm sunshine. This, however, has been accompanied by an oh so biting northerly wind and night time frosts aplenty. A challenging climate at times for us humans (a day out involves a wooly hat, a sun hat, a pair of shorts but with some thermals thrown in too!) but especially for all the little cuttings and seedlings, many of which have been indoors for weeks now or if outside have been wrapped up like little babes in fleece every night for protection.
But here we are, now finding ourselves on the cusp of May, the last month of Spring and a month that promises warmer weather. This is the month of sea temperatures beginning to rise, swifts migrating, bluebells in bloom, nettles filling the hedgerows and we get our first taste of Jersey Royal potatoes and asparagus.
In the world of edible herbs chives, parsley and chervil are now growing merrily with such freshness and depth of flavour. The likes of mint, lemon balm and hyssop begin to re-emerge from their winter slumber and become lush and green again, the leaves when rubbed bearing a heady aroma from the ever-strengthening sun; perfect for making teas and infusions.
If you want to get started with growing your own culinary herbs, May is the perfect month for sowing basil, coriander, chamomile and fennel seeds. All of which can be planted in trays or pots and kept on a sunny windowsill or greenhouse to get them going until the weather is at least 15c+ outside. They can then be planted out for the Summer months.
With the rise in popularity of eating home/locally grown seasonal foods it’s good to remember that herbs grow seasonally too and are nature’s perfect accompaniment to these foods, not only to enhance flavours – think buttery jersey royals with freshly cut chives sprinkled over – but also in terms of the nutritional value that they add.
Image ~ Thai basil seedlings
Laura grows herbs (& many other things) at Edible Culture.