While dried herbs and spices will get the job done, there's nothing like a handful of fresh herbs to liven up a bland meal. However, buying fresh herbs from the supermarket can get expensive, so why not try growing your favourites yourself?
You don't need a lot of space to grow a herb garden - a sunny windowsill or empty shelf in your kitchen will do just fine. Meanwhile, if you have a conservatory or a greenhouse in your garden, these will also work nicely.
But before you tie on your PVC apron and start gardening, it's a good idea to get to know each plant's requirements. After all, each one is different and a one-size-fits-all approach to caring for them simply won't work.
Basil should be kept in a place that's extremely sunny because if it's subjected to even a light frost, the leaves will quickly turn black. Water it only sparingly and if you notice any flower spikes, pinch them off - a mature plant will stop producing leaves.
When you're ready to harvest the basil, choose leaves from the top of the plant, then leave it to grow again. Be sure to feed the plant a liquid fertiliser on a regular basis, as well.
Another leafy herb, coriander should also be kept in a sunny spot. The plant doesn't like to be moved, so try to keep it in the same spot once it has been sowed. Avoid overwatering and ensure that the soil drains quickly.
Pick mature leaves regularly, even if you won't be using them, as regular harvesting will help to delay flowering.
If you notice any fine feathery leaves, the plant is about ready to flower. If you want to grow your own coriander seeds as well, allow the flowers to go to seed and collect them when the smell goes away.
A herb that can also be grown in your garden as a low hedge, rosemary should be given plenty of sunshine and the leaves stay green year-round.
It will usually flower around March, and once the flowers have disappeared, go ahead and trim the plant and give it a good feed.