Herb pot for fish dishes

Do it:

May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Fish, cooked simply with herbs, is classic cuisine. The fine leaves of bronze fennel have a mild aniseed flavour and can be placed in the cavity of a fish prior to baking. The orange-scented thyme combines well with strong-flavoured fish like mackerel or herring, and is also good for marinades. Sorrel leaves have a sharp, lemon flavour - simply liquidise them and fold into créme fraîche to make a sauce for cold fish. English mace is warm and spicy, and brings out the flavour of trout.

Both parsley and sorrel will sulk if the compost dries out in hot sun, so place the container in partial shade. Feed weekly with seaweed extract until early autumn, to encourage leaf production, and to keep plants sweet and succulent.

Cut off the faded flower stems to keep plants compact. Pick all the evergreen herbs from the top, rather than the side, to promote new growth.

You will need

  • Bronze fennel, Foeniculum vulgare x2
  • Common sorrel, Rumex acetosa x3
  • Curly-leaf parsley, Petroselinum crispum x5
  • English mace, Achillea ageratum x1
  • Orange-scented thyme, Thymus vulgaris 'Fragrantissimus' x4
  • Terracotta pot (40 x 32cm) x1
  • Peat-free compost
  • Broken crock

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Place a piece of broken crock over the hole in the base of the pot to maintain good drainage. Add peat-free compost until the container is about two-thirds full.

Knock out each herb plant from its pot and arrange in the container.

Once all the plants are in place, fill between the roots with compost. You can use an empty pot as a scoop, which will give you a free hand to hold the leaves out of the way.

Once you're happy with the look of your arrangement, water in the plants to settle compost around the roots. Remove the rose from the watering can and gently water around the plants, not over them. If any gaps appear between the roots of the plants, simply add a little more compost, then water again.

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Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith says...

Paint a plain terracotta pot to give it a fresh look and complement the plants you’re using. Emulsion works well and will last for an entire growing season. Change the colour year on year as your container schemes evolve.

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