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Grow your own herbs this summer with NZ Gardener

3 November 2008

Grow your own herbs this summer with NZ Gardener

Looking for ways to save money in the lead up to Christmas? Plant herbs and start growing your own ingredients for summer salads, preserves, posies and handmade Christmas gifts from your garden.

NZ Gardener magazine's new special collector's edition Homegrown 3: Harvest your own fresh herbs is a complete guide to growing, harvesting and using homegrown herbs in the kitchen, bathroom and on the barbecue.

"Herbs are the most popular plants in Kiwi gardens with 86 per cent of our readers naming them as their favourites," says editor Lynda Hallinan.

"Herbs are easy to grow from seeds or cuttings and they suit gardens of all sizes, from a collection of pots on a sunny balcony to formal French-style potagers."

The third edition of the best-selling Homegrown series from NZ Gardener reveals how to sow, grow and harvest herbs for baking, barbecues, breads, salads, desserts and low-cost cleaning products.

"Herbs aren't just useful for jazzing up summer salads. You can grow your own rosemary kebab skewers, make hop pillows for a good night's sleep, soothe chapped hands with calendula cold cream, brew relaxing herbal teas and make herb vinegars and oils to give as gifts."

From basil and bay to coriander and chervil, Homegrown 3 delves into the magical and mythical world of herbs, providing practical and insightful tips on every aspect of growing your own.

"Not only will you save money on potted herbs from the supermarket that wilt on your kitchen bench in a matter of days, by planting herbs you'll have an endless supply of fresh flavours for just a few dollars."

"Plant a herb garden today," says Hallinan. "We bet you'll be addicted by the end of summer."

Homegrown 3 from NZ Gardener is the perfect special collector's edition for herb, garden, food and health lovers and is available from 3 November at leading supermarkets and booksellers for RRP $14.90.

Herb profile: Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a must-have perennial herb with aromatic foliage and blue flowers in summer. Shakespeare described rosemary as the remembrance herb and in medieval times, students wore sprigs of it in their hair while studying. Rosemary is a versatile herb for landscaping: upright varieties can be clipped into a formal hedge or grown as a topiary standard, while prostrate varieties are attractive trailing over retaining walls or in tall pots. Rosemary prefers a hot, sunny position and is ideal for waterwise gardens as it is very drought-tolerant once established. It is easy to grow from cuttings - just nab a branch of a friend's plant to get started.

Five fast uses for rosemary:

1. Strip the leaves off 30cm stalks of rosemary to make your own kebab sticks for summer barbecues. The rosemary stalks infuse cubes of meat and vegetables with flavour. 2. Make rosemary and apple jelly as a condiment for barbecued lamb chops 3. Steep sprigs of rosemary in a cup of boiling water; leave to cool then use as a hair rinse to treat dandruff and add shine to dark hair. 4. Make your own furniture polish by mixing rosemary essential oil with distilled vinegar, liquid soap and olive oil. 5. Add chopped rosemary to focaccia bread or your favourite savoury scone recipe.

Rosemary shortbread recipe

250g softened butter, 1 cup icing sugar, 1 cup cornflour, 2 cups white flour, 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

Cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add sifted cornflour and flour and mix well. Add chopped rosemary and knead well, then turn out onto a floured board and roll out to 1cm thick. Use a round cookie cutter to cut into circles, prick each shortbread biscuit with a fork, place on a greased tray and bake at 150C for 30 minutes.


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