This blog is about a garden located in Melbourne, Australia, where summer heat and long periods without rain can make gardening a challenge. It is the gateway to a series of blogs showing you how to deal with these conditions__________________________________John Ashworth 22/04/2017.
I have carefully researched and tested the best ways I know of growing common herbs in a warm temperate climate like Melbourne's using micro-organic gardening principles.
I record the results of these studies in stand alone blogs for my own benefit, but I am very happy to share this information publicly subject to the limitations outlined in my disclaimer.
The links below go directly to dedicated pages in these blogs and each page contains a botanical name, varieties grown, the preferred growing conditions, the herb's nutritional value, preparation of the soil, seedling and cutting propagation, planting out young plants, harvesting, and controlling pests and diseases.
I grow flowering herbs because of their ability to attract beneficial insects to my garden. Bees are particularly important and many of the herbs I grow are excellent bee magnets.
I need bees to pollinate my fruit trees and vegetables, and when they are absent, fruit harvests are severely reduced; or in some cases there is no harvest at all. (as I found to my cost when my apples failed in 2016 even though they produced loads of blossum).
Bees are not the only pollinators of course, and I try to grow a wide ranging variety of flowering plants to keep them all coming.
Herbs and other flowering plants attract predatory insects and insect eating birds, who keep pests under control as well as help to pollinate flowering plants.
I usually grow herbs in my raised beds alongside fruit trees, where their ability to attract pollinators is put to best use. However some herbs (like Sweet Basil for example) are best grown in Ecobeds as companion plants.
Good companion plantings promote vigour and good health in both partners, but not all plants are good companions, and its worth checking this out before you commit to planting them.You can find a list of good companions in most pages of my herb database.
For megrowing herbs is more to do with replicating nature in my garden and keeping the creatures therein balance, rather than growing them for culinary purposes (although we do a bit of that too). It all seems to be working quite nicely.