Our green-fingered guru, Craig Roman of Dobbies Garden Centres, explains how to make this eye-catching tower of herbs
Herbs make everything you cook or drink feel fresher, so why not give this simple herb pyramid a go? Not only does it offer a practical way for you to grow and harvest your own herbs, but it looks pretty cool, too. And the extra bonus is it should take you less than 30 minutes to build. Here’s how…
You will need:
* 3 terracotta pots: 35cm, 20cm and 15cm in diameter
* Multipurpose compost
* 9 herb plants
* Horticultural grit
* Watering can
* Plant labels (optional)
1 Choose your herbs
What gets your juices flowing? If you love cooking, choose herbs that go well with lamb, chicken and beef, such as rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley. If you’re a cocktail fan, go mojito mad with mint, while lemon verbena is great for teas. If you love a good detox, try camomile – it’s a great grower and you only need to pop a few sprigs into a teapot or diffuser to make tea. Pineapple Sage is divine for desserts – try it in baking, on ice cream or to make cordials. Herbs are easy to grow from seed on a windowsill, or buy some young plants for instant planting.
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2 Prepare your pots
Make sure your terracotta pots are clean and have no cracks. Tip multipurpose compost into the largest pot until almost full, then firm it down with your hands. Sit the medium-sized pot on top and repeat the process, then follow with the smallest pot.
3 Get planting
Use five plants on the bottom ring of soil, three in the middle and one in the top. Plant herbs that enjoy free-draining soil, such as thyme, near the top of the pyramid, and herbs that like more water, such as mint and basil, at the bottom. Plant several of the same herbs over the pyramid so you don’t have to keep picking from the same one. Apply a layer of horticultural grit to the surface for a smart finish and to deter slugs. Add plant labels too if you need help identifying the different herbs.
4 Give ’em some love
After planting, water your pyramid, then position it in a sunny spot, as herbs prefer warm conditions. Water regularly, but make sure the compost doesn’t become saturated. Pick the herbs little and often, taking care not to cut too much from one plant, as it’ll take a while to grow back.
5 Keep the pyramid tidy
Make sure you pull out any weeds or they’ll steal nutrients from the herbs. Dig up and replace the herbs when they’re past their best. The mint may overrun the others, so be sure to keep it in check. Herbs are vigorous growers, so if you find you have a glut of them that you can’t use, toss them into salads by the handful or freeze into ice cubes to drop into summer drinks.
Get the right kit
Lemons watering can, £15, Paperchase
Terracotta plant pot (35cm diameter), £4.79, Homebase
Plant labels, £5.95 for eight, Dotcomgiftshop
This article originally appeared in Style at Home, May 2017.