The secret to cooking delicious food is using good quality ingredients and, when it comes to fruit and veggies, nothing beats homegrown! So this week, Melissa is lending her gardening know-how to our resident chef extraordinaire, Karen Martini, and helping her to create a portable veggie patch. Karen’s putting all of her new produce to good use in a recipe inspired by her time in the south of Spain. With tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum and loads of herbs, her King Prawns with Gazpacho is bursting with flavour.
WATCH: Melissa shows you how to make a chef's herb garden
Have you got enough thyme on your hands? Or basil, parsley, mint or rosemary? Fresh herbs add magic to your meals and the fresher they are the better, so a herb garden right next to your kitchen is perfect. It serves as an inspiration, it smells glorious and you can make it look pretty too.
Sometimes, though, this is not practical. If your garden is a courtyard or a balcony, plant herbs in a pod or containers, then all you need is sunshine
Take advantage of portable raised beds - you can move them to chase the sun - such as this Vegepod, from $189
All covered up! Click the image to go to the Vegepod website
Many herbs are annuals and have shallow roots, while others are perennials. A few grow into lovely bushes, and if you have room, pluck your herbs from a tree.
It's tasty teamwork as Melissa King plants a chef's garden to make sure Karen Martini has fresh extras for her fabulous food
Marigolds work three ways in your garden - they add bright colour, the petals and leaves are edible and the leaves are a bit smelly so they drive away unwanted insects
Care for herbs
Unless it’s mint – which prefers part shade – herbs need sunlight, well-drained soil or potting mix and water, especially when it’s hot and dry.
Don’t add too much compost because it speeds up growth and encourages plants to bolt and go to seed, and you’ll lose flavour. Some Mediterranean plants, such as rosemary and sage, actually thrive in poor-quality soils.
Mix your kitchen essentials with ornamentals by co-ordinating colour - the silvery foliage of an olive tree and grey-green rosemary
Add some spice to your herbs with a long-season annual dwarf chilli. Choose one with the flavour intensity you prefer
For more great gardening stories, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine in selected newsagents and supermarkets or buy online today!
Melissa KingMelissa King is one of Australia’s most popular and respected garden experts and television presenters. Melissa joins the Better Homes and Gardens team as its respected garden expert. “For a gardening presenter, this is the pinnacle and I’m beyond excited to be working alongside people I have admired for years,” says Melissa.