This is a personal article submitted by Noel Burdette, Queensland Herb Society
Growing herbs in Queensland can be a trying experience at the best of times, but once you’ve been bitten by the bug (bad pun) you’ll be hooked for life!!!!
Many of us are familiar with the basic culinary forms of herbs such as Parsley, Basil and Coriander. But why not try to grow some of the more underestimated or under used herbs such as Winter Tarragon, the many “Savory” species, Vietnamese mint, Lemon balm, or native species such as Lemon Myrtle, or Native peppermint.
Introducing some of these herbs can lift the simplest of meals.
Many people these days are moving to smaller living spaces and a garden full of herbs can only be found in books. This is where they lend themselves perfectly to container gardening on balconies or courtyards.
Some of the drier loving species such as Thyme, Oregano and Sage grow well if planted in a hanging basket from a verandah or outside a kitchen window.
Grouping plants in accordance to their watering or fertilizer needs is a smart way of ensuring that you get the best out of these small wonders of the plants world.
For example, Basil, Coriander and Parsley should be kept together as they prefer to be fertilized more frequently.
If possible, plant your herbs in a large pot with a generous growing space.
I’m not a great believer in growing them in Strawberry pots, as the pots don’t allow for good root development. An exception to this is thyme or Oregano as they have a shallow root system.
Try growing a few herbs amongst your vegetable varieties.
Some herbs carry with them the ability to repel pests, and some will attract beneficial predatory and pollinating insects, which in turn help with fruit set (ie: Tomatoes and Passion fruit).
There is nothing like picking your own homegrown herbs with the knowledge they are pesticide free. Then adding them to you meals and finding that the flavors are superior to those offered on the supermarket shelves!
Herbs are the simplest of all the plant groups and they are a wonderful way of introducing children to gardening. I can’t think of a better way to grow more horticulturists!!!
Herbs stimulate the senses, they evoke memories of childhood or places past and present, they add wonderful fragrance to the home and they are at the forefront in medical testing for many of the world’s strongest ailments.
I am constantly amazed how a simple plant, can have such a positive effect on our lives.
Noel Burdette (past president for the “Queensland Herb Society”)
For more information on this topic, refer to subTropical Gardening magazine - www.stgmagazine.com.au