Eat Seasonal, Eat Local

Read below to find out about:

  • Growing Herbs this Spring
  • What in season right now
  • A recipe from Jess Muir, head chef of Franklin 

Growing Herbs this Spring

By Joy Phillips, Sprout Board member

There are many different herbs you can grow at home, especially if you don’t have a large area to plant out a full-scale vegetable garden. Why not start by growing in pots on a sunny windowsill, in a hanging basket, or investigate using vertical gardening techniques to expand even the tiniest of outside sunny areas.

Herbs are the perfect plant to grow in a container garden, close to the kitchen door for easy access. If planting in the ground, do make sure you select a well-drained area that gets good sunlight so you can have the most success.

For herbs to thrive, a few essential things are needed: sunshine, healthy organic soil, water (but not too much…) and a bit of nurturing TLC to keep the weeds at bay. Easy!

Below are some flavoursome herbs that thrive here in Tassie, and will get you started on your way to harvesting your own flavour-packed greens this Spring. Making small efforts now will transform your meals into something quite special for many months to come.

Basil – an annual that prefers full sun and warm days/nights. It’s too early to grow outdoors, but now is the time to start thinking about sowing seeds if you are propagating your own to be transplanted in the garden in late spring/early summer.

Borage – an annual/biennial that prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Borage will self-seed easily, providing next year’s seedlings. Bees and pollinators love the flowers, which can also be used as a tasty garnish on salads or drinks. Flowers tend to be bluish-purple but you can sometimes find a beautiful white variety too.

Chervil – an annual that prefers partial shade. You can harvest the leaves, as well as the roots of some larger varieties.

Chives – a perennial that prefers full sun. It will die back in late autumn/ early winter and will reappear when the days start to lengthen. Chives will thrive in full sun to partial shade.

Coriander – an annual that prefers light soil and full sun to partial shade. And don’t forget that you can also use the seeds as well as the leaves. The bees and other pollinators will enjoy the flowers before you harvest the seeds later in the season.

Dill – an annual that prefers full sun and rich soil. Dill is wonderful to use on fish dishes.

Lemon Balm – an easily grown perennial that prefers partial shade to full sun. It will thrive in rich, well-drained soil. Lemon balm is great for making tasty tea or to add into a dish for a nice lemon-y zing. As this is from the mint family, you may choose to put it in a container so you limit it from creeping into areas you may not want it to go…

Lovage – a perennial that is tall and likes full sun to partial shade and ideally likes fertile sandy soil. Leaves and stems are used fresh, as you would celery.

Marjoram – a perennial that likes full sun. There are many different varieties to look out for; sweet marjoram being more upright, or pot marjoram that is more like a ground cover. Can be used either fresh or dried.

Mint – a perennial, which prefers rich, moist soil and partial shade. It is best to grow in a container as it grows by spreading roots/rhizomes and will creep its way into areas you may not want it to.

There are many different types of mints to choose from; spearmint, chocolate, peppermint, lemon mint, Vietnamese, apple, pineapple or even, catmint. Both the leaves and flowering tops can be used fresh or dried.

Oregano – a perennial that grows in full sun and does not like the soil to be too rich. There are a few varieties to look out for such as Greek, Mexican or Wild.

Parsley – an annual/biennial that will thrive in partial shade or full sun in medium-rich soil. You can grow either the curly or the flat leaf Italian-style.

Rosemary – a hardy, perennial evergreen that prefers full sun but does not care for overwatering or too acidic soil.

Sage – a woody, and potentially expansive, hardy perennial that prefers well-drained, full sun position in the garden. Wonderful plants to use in borders, as there are a few different coloured leaves/varieties to choose from.

Tarragon (French) – a perennial that will grow in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Tarragon is dormant from late Autumn to early Spring.

Thyme – a very hardy perennial that prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Thyme does not care for overwatering. Thyme comes in many different shapes and sizes. There are quite a few varieties available so make sure you try out a few different types.

What’s in season right now?

By Anne Gigney of NRM South & Seasonal Tas, as well as on Sprout’s Fundraising subcommittee

It’s been a truly chilly Winter but the word is that the chill from the past few months will be producing some tremendous stone fruits later in the year. So as we are getting ready to say bye-bye to cold months, and welcome to Spring seedlings, it seems that the colour of the new season is green.

It has already been a bit of a confused season for seedlings with snow one day and warm Spring-like days the next. But the benefit of this crazy weather is the volume of really delicious produce ready for your shopping basket.

Farmers markets around the state are ripe with colour. The volume and breadth of delicious greens available right now is astounding, with varieties of cabbage, brussel sprouts, fennel, and the delicious leafy greens like kale and mustard greens making a strong appearance. These are also strongly supported by root vegetables including varieties of potatoes, carrots, parsnips and beetroot adding a delicious weight to the shopping basket, and radishes making a strong cameo performance.

What does it translate to in the kitchen? It seems there is no end of options – for those traditionalists, a good creative coleslaw sits nicely beside most dishes and is a good reminder that warmer weather is not far away. Some of us are still cooking up baked trays of roasted Winter veg, and either munching our way through them or turning them into delicious salads topped with locally grown walnuts and tasty Tassie cheese.

No matter what it is that takes your fancy, there are some truly delicious options coming straight to your shopping basket from our many great producers.

Seasonal recipe kindly supplied by Jess Muir, head chef at Franklin in Hobart

Braised Fennel

100 ml olive oil

6 young fennel

3 cloves garlic – smashed

1 tbsp thyme

2 bay leaf

Peel of 1 lemon & juice

1 teaspoon, fennel seeds – roasted

2/3 cup kalamata olives

6 roasted cherry tomatoes

100ml sherry

250ml chicken stock

Salt & pepper

Lightly fry the fennel in olive oil till golden in a shallow baking pan. Remove the fennel and add garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and lemon zest. Fry for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients with the fennel. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer slowly till cooked; approx 40 mins.

 


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