Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Herbs are in!

Well this season’s herbs are in, well at least some of them. As I couldn’t wait for my seeds to propagate I bought some established seedlings to give our herb patch a ‘kick start’, as I want to be able to harvest and use them ASAP.
I guess there are pro’s and con’s to using either.
My first preference would be to propagate your own from seed, as you can get some really exciting heirloom varieties online and their really cost effective. A packet of 40-200 seeds (depending on what your buying) can be as little as a dollar, compared to an established seedling costing $2-10. The major down side is patience (which I do not tend to have a lot of) and planning, another area that I often fall short on with the chaos of everyday life.
Second to that would be established seedlings or plants. The upside being you have a plant (not just the hope of one) and you can use it sooner. Generally I prefer to buy local herbs/seedlings from local sources- markets, friends etc. As local varieties that are established or flourishing are more likely to survive in my garden… Especially given my tendency to let them fend for themselves!
These locally sourced plants are also more likely to be older varieties or ‘heirlooms’. Meaning they should have better flavour than engineered varieties and can be very interesting in colour and form. They will also seed and the seeds will produce in future seasons. Engineered varieties are developed not to seed; therefore you have to continue to purchase the plant every season/year. Although ‘heirloom’ seeds and seedlings varieties are becoming increasingly popular; probably due to their flavours, colours and ability to collect the seeds, that they are now widely available in most DIY shops, garden centres or online sellers.
So on this occasion these were sourced from our local DIY store as I knew I would be unable to plant out anything bought from the local markets. So rather than buy something I wouldn’t get to use; as I have lost seedlings due to this before. And I wanted to get ahead and get cooking as soon as I could.
I will still be propagating some more herbs and a few different varieties of those I do. As I have intention of filling a few gasp in the current herb patch. But also want to expand a second edible area.  

But back to this area, before planting the existing herbs (tarragon, local lavender and bay tree) required a little pruning and the soil needed some serious TLC, following the weed stripping! So I actually used my own compost (as well as some purchased) and worm tea from my worm farm for the first time!
Worm tea is the ‘worm castings’ (basically their poo) diluted down with water. The compost was the material left after the worms had broken down their food/ bedding etc. As we started another level in the worm farm, so they gradually migrated to this section... Though I may have possibly put a few in the herb patch too. Guess they will only do the garden some good!
So the compost (along with some bought material) was turned through the soil, the plants were planted and then the worm tea applied before all were ‘soaked’ in… So we will be cooking with them soon.