I seriously have no idea how this Rosemary got so big. It started out in a small pot and was only about eight inches tall. Despite regular pruning, it hasn’t stopped growing since I planted it four years ago. This isn’t a bad thing, as this year it was the only thing in my two raised vegetable beds. It must have been very lonely.
I didn’t plant any vegetables this year. I knew we would be travelling too much during the spring and summer for them to survive, especially with the unpredictable British weather. My flower gardens looked lovely for most of the year thanks to the hard work of my friend, but aside from this huge Rosemary bush, the two raised beds in my kitchen garden were empty.
In years gone by my kitchen garden has been really something. It was even featured in a Rocket Gardens promotional brochure one year.
My raised beds are in the photograph on the bottom right. I had so many vegetables that year it was wonderful. Anyway, I was feeling a bit sad about my lack of produce and as we are having a very mild autumn I decided to build on the Rosemary and make a herb garden. There’s no guarantee it will last the winter, but many crops do overwinter here, so I’m going to have a go.
My husband and I dug the bed over and worked in some good compost. I bought some herbs in pots – mint (against my better judgment as I know it tends to spread), lemon balm, thyme and culinary lavender. I planted the mint actually in its pot. It’s a good way of ensuring it doesn’t spread too far.
I also started (from left to right in the photo) some chives, basil and dill in little pots on my kitchen windowsill.
They took off so well, I transplanted the chives, dill and a bit of the basil into the outdoor herb garden. I kept the majority of the basil indoors though as it is a very tender herb and is unlikely to survive the harsher weather to come.
Your kitchen window sill is actually a great place for a herb garden, especially if you live in a climate where crops simply will not survive the harsh winter weather. It’s a convenient way to have fresh seasonings literally at your fingertips and you don’t have to go outside in the cold to get them! My friend grows lettuces on her window sill and makes salads from freshly picked leaves all winter long. They taste amazing.
Meanwhile back in the garden, I planted three culinary lavender plants at the top of the bed, all in a row.
I have been thinking it might be nice to put lavender plants along all the edges of the bed, except on the side dominated by the Rosemary. Speaking of lavender, if you plan to cook or bake with the lavender from your garden, be sure the plants or seeds you choose are ‘culinary lavender’. Although most lavender varieties are edible, not all of them taste good!
It’s all starting to come together, although I do have some spaces to fill up yet.
Working on my autumn herb garden has inspired me to consider planting up the other raised bed, perhaps with some winter potatoes and even some parsnips. Are you planning an autumn garden? Even if it’s only a few pots on a window sill, growing your own herbs and/or vegetables is a great way to nourish body and soul. It’s a fun learning activity for kids and also encourages them to try new flavours.
There’s lots of help and advice available online and you can search for advice pertinent to the climate where you live. I like The One Pot Pledge and RHS websites for advice on growing your own in the UK. Give autumn gardening a try, even if it’s just one pot. I just know you will be glad you did!