Once you’ve had fresh basil, rosemary, thyme or sage you’ll never plunk down cash for a jar of dusty dried herbs again. Even if your thumb is more black than green, these four user-friendly plants will thrive in your kitchen, garden or on your terrace.
The Mediterranean has one of the best growing climates in the world. That’s not just our happily biased opinion, but a fact knwon to gardeners around the world. Citrus, squash, courgettes, tomatoes, watermelon, peppers, chillis, and aubergine all grow abundantly across the island. Capture that green magic at home with a simple herb garden.
Grow from: Cuttings
Plant: In the garden
Care: Rosemary is hardy and loves the sun. Water it evenly and regularly and prune the bushes to keep them from getting to lanky
About: Start your own rosemary plant by cutting a fresh green stem from one of the countless wild plants dotted around the island. To do so, you take a healthy stem, strip the lower leaves, put it in water and leave it to sprout. Once roots are visible plant in well-drained soil, either indoors or outside. Fresh rosemary is essential for barbecues or roasts, it goes particularly well with lamb. For a delicious veggie dish toss boiled new potatoes with olive oil, sea salt, coarse black pepper and rosemary.
Grow from: Seed
Plant: In the sun, indoors or out
Care: Basil loves hot weather and sunshine, as long as it’s hydrated
About: Varieties include purple and sweet basil, each with distinctive colouring and flavour. Plant a combination of seeds in one large pot, or grow separately. If planting outdoors, choose a spot where it will get six to eight hours of sun; if potted, keep in a sunny location. It loves the heat but needs plenty of water — wilted leaves mean it is thirsty! Use basil in any tomato dish, hot or cold. Basil mojitos are a great twist on the classic cocktail.
Grow from: Cuttings
Plant: In sandy, well-drained soil
Care: Water young plants regularly; prune heavy, woody stems
About: To grow from a cutting, clip an eight centimetre cutting from the tip of a stem, apply rooting hormone on the exposed portion of the stem, and plant it in sand. Roots should appear in about six weeks. Transfer it to a small pot till the roots form a ball, them move it to a large pot or the garden. Sage is a hearty herb that thrives on hot sunshine, so plant it outdoors or put the pots in a sunny spot. Savoury sage is a classic in stuffing, or for flavouring a mushroom and sage risotto.
Grow from: Cuttings or a plant
Plant: In well-drained soil
Care: When soil is dry, water well; don’t over-water; trim to prevent woody stems
About: There are many varieties of thyme, several of which are common in cooking, including French, English and lemon thyme. They all love heat, sunshine and are drought resistant, making them perfect for the Ibiza garden. Thyme is delicious with pork or chicken, roast vegetables, or in an herb quiche.