How to plant wet-loving herbs and thin root crops

  • The salad bed we planted 4 weeks ago is doing fine, but with the wet weather and dull days it’s not growing as quickly as it would if we’d had lots of sunshine. If you have space, plant another lot of lettuces now to keep the supply up.
Planting mint, parsley, dill, coriander, chervil and cutting celery
  • Wet-loving and dry-loving herbs like completely different growing conditions. The dry-loving herbs are also known as Mediterranean herbs and are thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and tarragon. These herbs do best in dry, bony soils.
  • The wet-loving herbs or English herbs are parsley, dill, chervil, coriander and mint and need rich soil and a constant supply of water. You would never want to plant the two types of herbs together.
  • Mint has roots that spread like wildfire and plants pop up all over your garden. We suggest you contain your mint by using a plastic plant pot with the bottom cut out of it. Place the pot in the garden bed so that half of the pot is raised up above the soil. Back fill around the pot, then fill the pot with potting mix, because it’s free-draining, and plant your mint.
  • Cutting celery is the next plant to go in. It’s not a herb, but is the kind of plant that you would use like a herb in food preparation. It’s a relation of Italian flat-leaf parsley, so use the leaves as well as the stalks.
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley has a long tap root, so make sure you have good soil to a reasonable depth. This herb is so vigorous, you can use it like a salad vegetable.
  • Curly parsley is worth planting for its slightly different taste. It’s not as vigorous a plant as flat-leaf parsley.
  • Coriander, chervil and dill are also members of the parsley family. They don’t take kindly to root disturbance, so take care when planting.
  • There’s plenty of organic matter in our soil which will help retain moisture, but all these herbs will benefit from a nitrogen boost. We lay a handful of sheep pellets around each plant, then a handful of organic blood and bone. Blood and bone works well because it has nitrogen (N) which is good for leaf growth and phosphorus (P) which helps establish a strong root system. Sheep pellets are good because they’re slow-release.
  • Finally you’ll need to put in hoops and nets over a herb bed like this. Dogs love blood and bone and rabbits love parsley, so you won’t stand a show if you have either or both of these animals around! Keep well-watered during dry periods.
Thinning daikon radish and turnips
  • The daikon radish and turnips we sowed two weeks ago need thinning. It’s not Full Moon when you would normally be working in your root crop bed, but if we don’t thin them now they’ll get too big and suffer from root disturbance.
  • Both vegetables need to be thinned to about 5 cms apart. Pull out clumps first, then you can go over again more meticulously if you wish. If you leave them a bit close, you can always pull out every second one later on and use as baby vegetables.
  • While you have the nets off, it’s worthwhile giving the bed a weed. We love the Niwashi tool for this job.


Camera: Ollie Logan
Editor: Thomas Asche