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, a fact known 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 too lanky
About: Start your 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 them separately. If planting outdoors, choose a spot where it will get six to eight hours of sun; if potted, keep it 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 the sand. Roots should appear in about six weeks. Transfer it to a small pot till the roots form a ball, then 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, and 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.