An edible garden is enhanced by the addition of herbs
January 30, 2017
Across the last 2 years I have noticed that a relaxed approach to the vegetable garden that allows the herbs to go to flower has resulted in many more bees and beneficial insects in my garden. The vegetable garden is enhanced in many ways with the addition of herbs. My harvests are increasing each year. Less effort and more food has to be a good thing doesn’t it?
In previous years I monitored my herbs closely and I would carefully cut them back at the first sign of a growth spurt that signaled they were about to go to seed. While this approach has the benefit of allowing for some additional harvests of the plant it means that the plant is not attracting the bees or other insects at the optimal time.
This post is the first for 2017 in the Garden Share Collective series. It is one of a collection of garden posts that are added on the last Monday of each month. Each month a topic, or theme, can be found via our Facebook group. Join the Collective by adding your post at the end of this one, or via my co-host Rosehips and Rhubarb . We would love to see your productive garden. Be sure to click through to read some of those linked each month, exploring the wonderful vegetable gardens of participants.
This month’s theme is “herbs“.
I love the intuitive way they can be added to the garden, planted alongside those vegetables they are best paired with in meals, such as basil and tomatoes, lemongrass and chilli, chives and cucumber. When the vegetables are ready to harvest you have all flavouring additions on hand ready to use in your cooking.
Fresh herbs allow for a constant addition of flavour to meals, even when the garden is not particularly productive. You can create a wide variety of meals from the small addition of a handful of herbs to a meal.
Herbs are robust, I adore the way many of them will flourish all year round. Sage, oregano, chives, lemongrass, thyme, mint (all varieties) flourish in my vegetable garden all year round. Others such as parsley are great in all seasons except the height of summer and the middle of winter. Those that are strictly seasonal such as coriander and basil are all the more enjoyed for their limited availability.
In addition to the flowers attracting the bees, the plants brighten and enhance the appearance of the garden.
You can find some of the posts I have written about herbs in a vegetable garden via this Gardening Index page. Use the tabs to find the content topics of interest.
My summer vegetable garden is a little behind for this time due to the slow, cool start to the season. The tomatoes are only just beginning to ripen on the vines, we are certainly not collecting bowls or baskets full yet. Most of the plants this year are self-seeded. Until they ripen I will not know the variety of most of them. Those that self seeded in the garden beds from the compost, or last years crops are most certainly looking stronger and more productive than those I have put onto string.
The zucchini are beginning to flow but the volume is certainly not stressing me out at this point in time, nor are my neighbours being left piles on their doorsteps as is the usual practice in summer. I am sure it will happen just later than usual this year. I expect to be harvesting summer produce until the end of autumn this year and will need to review our autumn planting as I doubt there will be the usual gaps for any new additions.
At the moment I am adding the following veggies to the garden:
We are currently harvesting:
The capsicum are producing well on the plants that were wintered. These plants are not huge but they are producing good sized fruit with increasing frequency.
The pumpkins are looking wonderful, there is a loud buzz all around the plants as the bees move from flower to flower pollinating them. I am growing them vertically as I usually do each year to keep room int he garden beds for other summer produce. There is a growing number of fruit setting.
The corn harvests have commenced with the first two cobs being gloriously sweet and perfectly formed. I am growing beans up the stems. This is a recommended companion planting process. I have to say that the beans are not easy to pick and access when growing in this manner as opposed to using a frame to allow them to climb.
The raised beds are full to over-flow point.
How is your summer vegetable garden progressing? What herbs are growing in your garden this month?
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