Welcome to Lesley Upton’s allotment blog, where she will look at life on her Berkshire allotment, from the veg she is growing to how people are living with the threat of coronavirus. Here she looks at growing basil, chives, coriander and mint
On the days when I can’t get to the allotment, I spend a lot of my time sowing seeds – both for the allotment and for use at home. Over the past couple of days I have sown sweet basil, coriander Cilantro and chives as seeds, and potted up a lemon mint plant.
I found the mint when I was digging up some weeds in our communal car park, and think it must have seeded itself there from a neighbour’s garden. I’ll keep it in the greenhouse until the roots are established.
I sowed the chives and basil seed in trays, which are now in a propagator. I sowed them 0.5cm (1/4in) deep and watered them. Once they germinate I will prick them out and place them in the greenhouse, before potting them up again in bigger pots and acclimatising them to outside conditions – making sure there is no chance of a frost.
For the coriander, I sowed the seeds direct into a couple of pots, 0.5cm (1/4in) deep, and watered them. I’ll keep these under cover in the greenhouse and pick the leaves when I need them. If it gets really hot, I’ll put the pots outside.
I plan to keep some pots of chives and basil for the garden, and plant some chives on the allotment as the bees love the purple flower heads. I will keep the pot of mint for the garden for the moment, and when it gets bigger I’ll divide it, pot it up and take it to the allotment.
I must remember to make sure that I keep the pot of mint raised offer the ground this time, because the last time I grew mint the roots escaped out of the bottom of the pot and invaded the allotment! And I’ve got enough ‘invasions’ on the allotment, what with bindweed and horsetail – to name just two.
The coriander I grow is ‘Cilantro’, whose leaves are slow to run to seed. My past attempts at growing coriander weren’t too successful, as the plants went to seed very quickly, but last year I tried ‘Cilantro’ and had lots of nice coriander leaves.
I love fresh basil with pasta (if I can find any in the supermarket) and coriander with curries. And chives are lovely with new potatoes or in potato salad – so roll on the time I can have my ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Foremost’ spuds!
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