||There are several
forms of mint, but the nicest for mint sauce and other flavouring is
spearmint. "Runners," or side branches of an old plant, root very easily and
may be planted in March or April. If there is no natural shade, a mulch of
rotted leaves will help to keep the roots cool.
ordinary thyme, the lemon-flavoured kind should be grown. Both prefer a warm
soil. Cuttings can be taken during the early summer, or old plants can be
lifted and divided into convenient pieces for replanting in Spring. It is a
good plan to do this every two or three years, as old plants often get
"leggy" and bare of young shoots.
Sage is another herb that can be propagated by cuttings,
preferably with a "heel"—a piece of the old stem attached to the slip. In
some districts they need the protection of a cold frame for rooting. April
and May are the best months for this.
Pot marjoram or sweet marjoram, the best-known forms, can be
raised from cuttings, though they are often treated as annuals, seeds being
sown each April.
Chervil and savory are two more herbs that are often raised
from seeds, though savory can also be propagated in the same way as thyme.
Chervil is used fresh, but savory can be dried like sage.
Chives are among the easiest herbs to grow and the "grass" or stems, either
fresh or dried, can be used for flavouring instead of onions. The more it is
cut, the better the plant grows. The plants make a delightful edging to the
herb bed and new plantings can be made in autumn or spring by lifting and
dividing old plants into single bulbs or groups of two or three.
Parsley, too, is suitable as an edging plant. To get
successional supplies it is best to sow three times " February or March,
April, or early May, and again in July. The last sowing will give fresh
parsley until severe frosts cut down the plants.
Fresh sprigs of parsley are generally used, but it is not
always known that the shoots can be dried for winter use. To keep the colour
as much as possible, the drying must be done quickly, and it is best to put
the bunches in a cool oven.
Among the less common herbs are tarragon, worm-wood,
southern-wood, basil, balm and fennel. Now is the time to look round and see
where you can get seeds, cuttings or pieces to make a start next spring.