We pick a bunch of tasty and unusual herbs for the allotment and balcony.
The clocks change, and here come the bank holidays and long evenings. To celebrate we’ve been moving the rest of the turf mound into the compost heap with a load of horse manure today. Obviously, the two of us know how to live. But this mound, now removed, leaves a nice big fat patch of earth which is just screaming out to be planted. It’s at the front of the allotment, and near the bench where we’ll both be loafing on heady summer days.
At the same time, I’ve finally got around to clearing up the balcony, and the lovely Herb Garden planter has moved to the other end, and I’m planning to clear out some of the stragglers left over from last year and give it a jolly good tidy up. My plan for both the new bed left by the turf mound and for the herb garden planter is the same: more herbs. Here are five that I want to grow, either in my sky garden or at the allotment:
This is the most extraordinary herb with the sweetest-tasting leaves ever. It has finally been cleared for consumption as a sweetener by the EU, and now you can use it to make your tea and puddings taste sweet without all the problems associated with too much sugar. It’s a pretty herb, too (picture above). I’m growing a line of plants in the herb garden on the balcony, and one plant on the allotment too.
Believe it or not, it’s been a while since I last grew fennel. It’s perfect for the allotment because it attracts so many beneficial insects, and I’m growing a lovely bronze fennel in the new herb patch.
3. Sweet cicely
Another beautiful herb that adds sweetness to dishes. Try it with rhubarb crumble and halve the amount of sugar in the stewing process. This will go in the allotment herb patch
This is an incredible herb that has somehow fallen out of fashion. Who knows why, though, as you can use the seeds in bread and liqueurs, the leaves in soups, stews and salads, and the stalk as an alternative to celery. This is for the allotment herb patch and the balcony garden.
5. Winter Savory
A herb not unlike rosemary, but with a saltier, peppery flavour. It is great for bean dishes as it helps reduce some of the, er, side effects. And I use it in spaghetti bolognese to give the dish a nice little kick. Another one for the allotment.