Suddenly, we’re all wondering how to get more flavour into our food with fewer trips to the supermarket. We think it’s safe to say that now could be the perfect time to start that kitchen garden you’ve been talking about for so long.

Whether you’re a green-fingered expert or a gardening novice, herbs are an easy and useful thing to have to hand to make home-cooked dishes even more delicious. They’re also compact, so you can experiment just as easily on a small balcony as in a large outside space.

With that in mind, and with the help of Waitrose Garden, we’ve listed six of the most common, versatile and easy to care for herbs. Here’s your IDEAL kitchen garden: how to grow your own herbs at home.

CHIVES

A delicious evergreen herb that will come back year after year. The slim, elegant dark green leaves can be snipped with scissors (or chopped with a very sharp knife to avoid bruising) and used as an addition to salads, soups and stews. The pale mauve pom-pom like flowers, which are also edible and look wonderful when sprinkled over a summer salad, are produced in early summer.

Position: full sun

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: March to May

Harvest: July to September

ROCKET

Rocket stays true to its name, shooting out of the ground in no time. Indeed, you’ll be picking your first delicious peppery leaves within a matter of weeks. You can keep picking the large, lobed leaves as a cut-and-come-again crop over a long period; they look (and taste) gorgeous picked young, adding a spicy edge to mixed leaf salads. The flowers are edible too and look great as a garnish.

Position: full sun or partial shade

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: April to August

Harvest: May to October

DILL 

A particularly fine-flavoured variety of dill that’s well known for its generous leaf production, Dukat dill is selected to produce more foliage before running to seed than most.

Dill has many uses, and provides a delicious flavouring to pickles or with vegetables, salads and fish dishes, and the pretty, feathery foliage looks at home anywhere in the garden, making a lovely foil to your flowers. If it’s allowed to flower, then these can be eaten too. They have a similar flavour to the leaves.

Position: full sun

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: April to May

Harvest: June to September

ROSEMARY

A shrubby evergreen, rosemary’s highly aromatic leaves are traditionally used for flavouring meats including lamb, pork and chicken. A wonderful addition to the kitchen garden, they also make fine ornamental plants and can be grown as a low, informal hedge – ideally where you can brush past them and release their delicious scent.

Position: full sun

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: Sept to Oct or March to May

Harvest: May to July

BASIL

A vigorous plant with large, scented, bright green blistered leaves, this particular Ocimum basilicum ‘Napoletano’ variety is only found in Naples and is highly prized for its flavour. No wonder it ends up on the finest pizza versions the world has ever seen.

Position: full sun, sheltered and warm or a sunny windowsill

Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: Sow indoors – February to April (for earlier crops). Sow outside – March to July (when the air temperature is above 10C). 

Harvest – June to October

CORIANDER ‘CONFETTI’

An unusual and extremely attractive ‘feathery’ herb with a slightly sweeter but distinctive coriander flavour and aroma than the original, this guy can be grown indoors all year round.

Position: full sun

 Soil: fertile, moist but well drained

Sow: all year round

Harvest: all year round

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