Grow herbs



Daily Telegraph


Herbs are a brilliant way to widen your diet, consume antioxidants and titillate your palette. A prime example is thyme. I grow several square metres of this (which is easy from seed); I use a few sprigs in hot water as a drink, and add it liberally to homemade burgers, soups, salads and stews. In clinical trials it has been shown to reduce inflammation and in lab tests it is shown to have antibacterial and antifungal activity, as well as helping to clear away mucus. I am never without multiple pots of basil on the window sill – we use massive amounts in pesto, and apparently it strengthens the immune system, alleviates stress and enhances memory. For teas, my favourites are Aloysia citrodora (lemon verbena) and Aloysia polystachya, supposedly a relaxant and antidepressant: both are delicious. I regularly put sprigs of fresh lavender in my pockets (for sniffing) to help my butterflies before recording BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, and it’s also considered to promote sleep. Mint, rosemary, bay, wild garlic, fennel, sage and many more are easy to grow and well worth consuming regularly, and not just in tiny quantities. Discover ways to enjoy a wide range of herbs and check out their benefits (Grow Your Own Physic Garden by Elaine Perry is a useful guide).