21 September 2022
Horticulture Hacks

How to Grow Herbs All Year Round

Nurtured in Norfolk’s gardening expert Martyn Davey answers all your questions.


If you’re a herb lover or interested in growing your own range of herbs at home, then Martyn is here to help you!

Dear Martyn,

I would like to grow herbs all year round to supply my kitchen with at least a few herbs in the gloom of winter as well as in the bright, sunny weather. Can you suggest how to do this without a heated greenhouse? I have a large north facing windowsill in the kitchen can I use this or will it be too dark to grow fresh herbs?

Dear Reader,

Herbs are great to grow in your garden during summer, but they do struggle in the cooler, shorter days of autumn and winter. If you have an area in your garden that catches the sun often, that you can use possibly for herbs and vegetables this will give much better results than trying to grow on a cold and dark north facing windowsill. Extend the season with the use of a cloche to protect the herbs from the worst of the winter cold and encourage early growth in spring.

A cloche is an easy to use covering that protects home-grown plants from harsh weather conditions and is a great way to encourage your herbs to grow. These function in the same way as greenhouse but on a much smaller scale. They can be used to protect a selection of low growing plants and make the process of growing herbs much simpler. Cloche’s need to allow light through to the plants, so there is no need to buy a brand new one. You can recycle your own empty milk cartons and plastic jugs by simply cutting off the top of them and gently placing over a plant. By using a cloche, you’re essentially creating a ‘mini-climate’ for your herbs.

The moisture that your plants produce will be trapped within the cloche and create condensation with is the reabsorbed by the plant.


Flat Parsley Fresh Bunched Herb Flat Parsley Fresh Bunched Herb

The use of a cloche is suitable for growing herbs, such as Parsley, Coriander, Chives and Lovage. Both the moss curled (Petroselinum crispum ‘Moss Curled’) and the French and Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum ‘Italicum’), and coriander (Coriander sativum ‘Cilantro’) which is better for leaf production and less likely to bolt than the plain sativum.  Also if you like chives (Allium schoenoprasum), salad rocket (Eruca sativa) and Lovage (Levisticum officinale). All these are well worth growing although with the possible exception of chives they all need to have regular replacements as they tend to grow fast and then run to seed.

All of these are definitely worth growing! Showing weed on the windowsill will help to ensure a good succession of new young plants to keep producing all year round.

Lovage Fresh Bunched Herb Lovage Fresh Bunched Herb

These herbs are full of flavour and would be great to add into a range of dishes. Parsley is frequently used in marinades, dressings and potato dishes as it has a citrusy flavour and slight peppery taste. This makes it perfect for garnishing dishes! Similarly fresh Coriander bunched herb, has a citrusy aroma and pairs really well with meat dishes, which is great for those hearty winter dishes – we all love a classic casserole on a cold evening!

Chives have a mild onion flavour which compliments meaty dishes like steak and chicken. This herb can even be added into butter and generously spread over your baked potatoes.

Lastly, Lovage is a very powerful herb and has a flavour similar to Celery, but far more intense! The leaves of the Lovage plant can be used in salads, soups, stews and egg dishes.

Basil Fresh Bunched Herb

For other herbs such as Basil, will perform best on a bright and sunny windowsill and really can only go outside if we have another really hot summer. Think about using a galvanised trough to display your herbs on the window sill rather than a random collection of old saucers like the rest of us.

There is no shame in buying your herbs from the supermarket as ready grown plants, particularly for Basil, as it will normally have at least 20 plants in the pot that can be split out and potted individually in 9cm pots. Grown on the price for these herb pots is usually between £1 and £1.50 and you will find you get what you pay for, I have found and extra 50p can make a huge difference in quality.

Many of these plants will have been forced on and had a rough journey to the supermarket, so it is best to water them well when you get them home and cut them hard back to encourage new growth, which will need to be harvested regularly to keep the plants productive and don’t let them flower. Although Basil likes warm conditions, it also needs to be kept well-watered and feed every two week with a high nitrogen feed, not a tomato fertiliser as this encourages flowering.

Sage Fresh Bunched Herb Sage Fresh Bunched Herb

With other perennial herbs like Mint, Sage, Thyme and Rosemary I like to grow these in large pots outside but with the flexibility to move them around either for outdoor cooking or to promote better growth from the plants. Rosemary and Sage need to be in sunny positions to do well and need a free draining soil as they will not do well if left to soak. Mint on the other hand likes sun but also needs lots of moisture and will do well planted in a bucket with only a few drainage holes this also helps to keep it under control. These herbs unlike to seed raised annuals will need to be cut back in spring to encourage new growth and definitely by grown plants from the supermarket or garden centre.

Cornflower Edible Flowers Cornflower Edible Flowers

Jobs for this week in the garden

Finally, if you’re an Edible Flower lover as well as fresh Herbs, then remember that you can also start to sew Flowers like Calendula, Poppies and Cornflowers in prepared soil. If you’re looking for advice or guidance on how you recycle this year’s cornflower heads, then click the link here.

This contains all of the information that you’ll need to de-seed this years Cornflower heads. This is great for recycling the edible plants that you already have as well and it’s super easy to do. It will definitely be worth it when the delightful, colourful cornflowers start to pop up next season!

If you would like any horticulture query answered please do e-mail our head grower at martyn@nurturedinnorfolk.co.uk to add your thoughts to our weekly horticulture hacks.

Martyn Davey – Head Grower

EDP Gardening Expert Columnist 

Rack of Orchard Farm Lamb Recipe

If you’re not sure what dishes that you can incorporate your home-grown herbs into, then here I have a delicious recipe to share with you that is sure to give you some inspiration.

This recipe was created by George Powles and it is bursting full of flavour. One ingredient in the recipe is Chives, so it’s a good opportunity to try your own grown herbs whilst making this recipe.


  • Rack of Lamb (200g-300g)
  • Chives (Pinch - Nurtured in Norfolk)
  • Mint Herb Oil (Nurtured in Norfolk)
  • Apple (1 Diced)
  • Raisins (50g)
  • Ground Coriander (1tsp - Nurtured in Norfolk)
  • Jerusalem Artichokes (300g)
  • Double Cream (50g)
  • Water (50ml)
  • Sugar (50g)
  • Star Anise (1)
  • Runner Beans (150g)
  • Lemon Verbena Herb Oil (Nurtured in Norfolk)
  • Garlic Cloves (2)
  • Olive Oil (100ml)
  • CousCous (200g)
  • Salt & Pepper (pinch)
  • Fresh Chives (Chopped - Nurtured in Norfolk)
  • Cumin (1tsp)
  • Lamb Stock (375ml)
  • Butter (50g)
  • Red Beetroot (1)
  • Red Wine Vinegar (50ml)
  • Cloves (4)
  • Courgette (1 Juiienne - Nurtured in Norfolk)
  • Broad Beans (50g)
George Powles Lamb Rack with Spiced CousCous, Shaved Pickled Beetroot, Jerusalem artichoke Puree, Beans Tagliatelle and Mint Oil George Powles Lamb Rack with Spiced CousCous, Shaved Pickled Beetroot, Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, Beans Tagliatelle and Mint Oil (Serves 2-4)

The Lamb

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. To prepare the rack of lamb, first you need to clean the bones. To do this, wrap a piece of string around the bone, starting at the bottom, and pull tight. As you pull, the string will remove the meat from around the bone, leaving behind a clean bone.
  3. To marinate the rack, blitz together the garlic, mint and oil in a food processor until completely mixed and then pour over the rack of lamb and leave while you prepare the rest of your meal. Be sure to leave a little of the mint oil aside to finish the dish later on.

Spiced CousCous

  1. You will need to prepare lamb stock. Then, lightly sweat the finely chopped onions in a pan with oil and spices.
  2. Then, add to couscous along with lamb stock and salt and pepper and cover with clingfilm in a bowl to cook.
  3. Once cooked, you can add finely chopped apples, chives and raisins.

Artichoke Puree

  1. Part boil the artichokes in some salted water until soft enough to blend (approx 10 minutes).
  2. Melt the butter in a pan and then add cream and artichokes and season well.
  3. Once simmering, pop in a food processor and blend until smooth and pass through a sieve to obtain a smooth texture.

Pickled Beetroot

  1. Make your pickling liquor by putting all ingredients (beetroot, water, red wine vinegar, sugar, cloves, star anise) into a pan and simmering gently.
  2. Finely cut beetroot into 1mm thick rounds and then cut into desired shape and cook in pickling liquor.

Beans Tagliatelle

  1. Gently fry courgette, runner beans and broad beans in oil and lemon juice but don’t do this until you are ready to plate as doesn’t take long.

Rack of Lamb

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan and colour each side of the rack until a nice golden brown.
  2. Then place on a tray and into a preheated oven at 180 C for 10 minutes (medium rare).
  3. For best results, cut rack of lamb into cutlets to serve.


  1. Build your dish by starting with the spiced couscous. Gently spin your bean tagliatelle around a fork and drape not op of the couscous.
  2. Pipe blobs of Jerusalem artichoke puree neatly around the couscous (three is a suggestion). The shaved pickled beetroot to be placed on each puree splurge.
  3. Once the lamb has had time to rest, slice and prop on top of the bean tagliatelle tower.
  4. Drizzle lightly with mint oil.
  5. And last but not least, serve with a rather gluggable bottle of young Bordeaux and enjoy.

If you wanted to incorporate any other herbs from your garden to alter the flavours, then that would definitely be worth trying! It’s always great fun experimenting with different ingredients to see what flavours works best. Sometimes  you can create something even tastier by altering just a few of the ingredients.

Find out more abut George and his cooking style on his profile.