Growing winter herbs
Now is definitely the time to be eating lots of comfort food, such as slow-cooked casseroles, roasts, stews and soups.
And the best herbs to flavour these dishes all grow well during winter.
Perennial thyme, rosemary, sage and bay are the indispensable winter herbs that cooks can’t live without.
They marry well together, or they can be used individually in dishes.
Add a little parsley to the mix and you have the flavouring ingredients you need for all your winter warmers.
If you’re short on space, or have just a balcony or courtyard, you can still grow them, as they will thrive in containers as well as garden beds.
When growing edibles, it’s healthier to use natural methods to get rid of insect pests in the garden.
Treat insects such as mites, mealy bugs, scale, whitefly and aphids with remedies made from low-toxic or potassium soap-based sprays.
Tackle leaf-eating caterpillars with Bacillus thuringiensis, sold as Dipel. This naturally occurring bacteria will slowly kill most offenders.
Control insects, including caterpillars, thrip and leaf-miner, using an insecticide containing spinosad, a substance that is derived from a soil fungus.
Try plant-based rather than petroleum-based oils to smother insects such as mites, aphids, mealy bugs, whitefly and scale.
Use pyrethrum in a spray bottle to target pests while sparing beneficial insects. It breaks down quickly and has a low toxicity.
Encase an infested plant in a small plastic bag, tie it around the base, and pull the whole plant out.
Or you can just cut off the affected stem.