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Herbs at home – Train your green thumb


Fresh herbs in garden
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Fresh herbs touch up your kitchen and provide intense natural flavours. At the same time, they turn your garden, terrace, balcony or even windowsill into a little green paradise. To give you a good alternative to dried or frozen herbs, here are some practical tips. We also show you how to keep supermarket herbs alive!

Herbs bring a grey balcony to life and allow you to always have what you need for a refreshing summer kitchen. Another advantage is that they fill your outdoor space with a delightful scent that takes you to the Mediterranean. In this article, we will focus on already grown or young plants – growing herbs from seeds is a science in itself.
Harvesting fresh herbsDried herbs in a glass

Which herbs are best

Many popular garden and balcony herbs are of southern origin and therefore like a bright space, however make sure they are not exposed to direct sunlight. Thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint and basil are best, but you’re also guaranteed to enjoy native classics like chives, parsley and lemon balm. There are varieties of each herb that are better suited to small-scale cultivation: the famous basil variety “Genoveser”, for example, the spherical thyme “Fredo” or the oregano “Compactum”. The best thing to do is to go to a specialist plant store.
Various fresh herbs in pots

Potted and relocated

To enjoy your herbs for a long time, you should repot them as soon as possible. It’s best to repot them in pots that are large enough for their roots to spread out. Classic balcony flower troughs are also suitable. A famous beginner’s mistake: make sure that the containers you plant the herbs in have drainage holes so that the excess water can run off – you are not growing water plants. You can find suitable herb soil in specialist shops in which you can plant the plants. You can also use high-quality potting soil. The important thing is that the soil is not too dense and that its airiness allows water to drain off easily.
Repotting fresh basil

Where to put the plants?

For your herbs, choose a spot on your balcony or terrace that gets plenty of sunlight but is not constantly exposed to the blazing sun. Even if your windowsill gets plenty of light, plants can thrive here. It is said that herbs need at least six hours of sunlight a day to grow well. A south-facing balcony is ideal, as this is where herbs such as rosemary, thyme or oregano thrive. If your outdoor space faces east or west, herbs that are less sun-hungry are more suitable: chives, parsley or mint, for example. If you only have a north-facing balcony, it’s better to move to a sunny windowsill. Of course, it’s you who knows the weather conditions around your home best – just choose your favourite place.

Something to look forward to

Water your plants properly after you have planted them – and at regular intervals thereafter. The soil should always have a basic moisture level, which you can feel when you stick your finger about a centimetre deep into the soil. In any case, make sure that the soil is never completely soaked. You can also fertilise the plants every 14 days so that they are supplied with sufficient nutrients.
Basil harvest

Finally time to harvest - but how?

When the plants have developed well, you can harvest them. The best time to do this is in the morning or before the midday heat. Use sharp scissors or a knife to carefully cut off what you need so that the cuts can heal better. It is best to harvest about half of a shoot. Only cut off part of the herbs at a time so that they can regenerate well afterward. Most herbs taste most intense before they flower (thyme, sage, chives, mint or marjoram), oregano is also good for harvesting during flowering.

Kotányi pro-tip: A new life for supermarket herbs

Chives, parsley, basil and other herbs are also sold directly in pots in many supermarkets. Many people use them like a disposable product, but you can still use them for a long time without any problems. For the most part, you can follow the tips above: It is important to repot them and provide them with fresh soil. Then, all you need is water, sunlight and a lot of affection – and you will have a lot of fun with it!

Dried or fresh?

Herbs have advantages both dried and fresh: dried ones are easier to dose and have a long shelf life. In addition, certain dried spices, such as oregano and marjoram, have a more intensive effect in cooking than fresh ones. Simply try out what suits you and your dish best!

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