Thyme to dry herbs

PUBLISHED: 13:49 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 May 2010

URSULA BUCHAN, of The English Garden magazine, offers some gardening tips for July. The Kitchen Garden: This is the time to be cutting, drying or freezing herbs. Most herbs dry well, especially thyme, marjoram, mint and rosemary, although chervil and chi

URSULA BUCHAN, of The English Garden magazine, offers some gardening tips for July.

The Kitchen Garden: This is the time to be cutting, drying or freezing herbs. Most herbs dry well, especially thyme, marjoram, mint and rosemary, although chervil and chives do not.

Cut non-flowered shoots with their stems, tie them in bunches using soft string and hang them upside-down in an airy, warm, dark place.

When dry they will crumble when rubbed and then store them in an air-tight jar.

You can also freeze picked herbs in plastic bags and, if you want the leaves of parsley, coriander or mint for soups and strews, cut the leaves up small and put them in ice cube trays to which you add water before freezing.

n Make a last sowing of

carrots early in the month. Sowing now often means carrots escape the attention of the carrot root fly.

n Harvest new potatoes, garlic and broad beans as well.

The Lawn: You can mow less often as grass has slowed down in growth. If the weather has been dry, do not mow at all, or only with blades set high.

The greenhouse: Make sure shading and ventilation is adequate as July and early August usually see the highest temperatures. To keep humidity high, and discourage red spider mite, damp down the floor with a can of water in the middle of the day.

Borders: You can propagate border carnations and pinks by "layering" them now. Find a shoot that is growing close to the ground, remove most of the leaves except those at the tip, then cut half-way through the bottom of the stem at a leaf node.

Peg the shoot down where you have nicked it, using a U-shape piece of wire. When roots have formed, cut the stem and dig up and replant the rooted layer.

n Check container plants frequently to ensure they do not go short of water. In areas where these is a hose-pipe ban, water with "grey" water from the kitchen then put a gravel mulch around them to inhibit evaporation.

Finally: This is holiday time, so make sure there is someone around to water the greenhouse and pick the maturing vegetables. If that is not possible, water plants in pots thoroughly and put them in a cool, shady place.


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