Growing and using herbs, with Jekka McVickar

Growing and using herbs, with Jekka McVickar

We had space for a new herb garden, after Homeacres expanded onto new land in 2021. See the results, three months after setting Jekka’s plants, and some others, in the new herb garden.
Kate suggested creating a herb garden, and we had recently cleared some space near the cabin. It had been a heap of topsoil for three years, dating from when the cabin was built in 2018.

00:00 Welcome to Homeacres new herb garden, introducing Jekka McVickar and Kate Forester
01:33 Making the herb garden
02:04 Jekka describes how she raises the plants
04:52 The bay tree, not from Jekka
05:53 How Kate uses the herbs
06:50 Narrow Leaved Sage
07:29 Lamiaceae Family
08:20 Hyssop
08:32 Fennel
09:35 Potato patties with celery leaf
09:55 Jekka explains how the Romans would take their herbs with them into wars – whilst the UK exported celery to India
10:50 Alecost
12:31: Jekka’s favourite
13:56 Salvia, Royal Bumble
15:03 Winter Savory
15:41 Elecampane
16:13 Basil Mint
16:43 Swiss Mint
17:10 Siberian Chives
17:59 Walking Stick Onion
18:46 Greek Oregano
19:03 The Bees
20:15 French Tarragon
21:02 Creeping Savory
21:16 Liquorice

The area is 4m2 or 43ft2, the soil mostly weed free after bindweed roots had died under the heap of soil. I levelled the surface with a rake, and drew a circle in the ground. I divided the circle into four quarters, and added compost.

In mid-March we drove to Jekka’s nursery, about an hour north of here. She gave us loads of herby information, and we came back with two year old herb plants, organically grown.

The garden had a slow start, with April being frosty. Now as I write this in mid-July, the garden is quite full, and many plants are in flower, attracting a lot of insects. This video was filmed 16th June 2021, by Edward Dowding my younger son. You can see more of his work here

Jekka’s “Complete Herb Book” has sold over a million copies.
She is the original organic herb grower, and Britain/s foremost authority on herbs. She advises many chefs including Jamie Oliver and Nathan Outlaw.
Her nursery is open at selected times
See her videos:

Kate Forrester is a chef and now gardener/grower. She is starting a CSA near Ringwood in West Hampshire, southern England. She works part time at Homeacres, and cooks for courses here.

Learn more about growing herbs in this module of my online course 2


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The Refill Room also hold stock of the module trays,

The Farm Dream sell these trays in Europe


  1. Stacey Moniz on May 2, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    I think this is the most amazing group of folks talking about herbs… thank you for everything you shared in this video!! Aloha from Maui 🙂

  2. dailyrapture on May 2, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    thank you!!!

  3. roovawal on May 2, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Loved this thank you. You can’t help but get excited and be inspired hearing the passion and knowledge in all voices.

  4. Michael Davidson on May 2, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Love your channel and your calm deliberate delivery.

    Can’t say I enjoyed Jekka McVicker busting into your haven of peace. I see you maintained safe social distancing. Personally I’d have given her another paddock.

    Clearly other people are enchanted.

    Just goes to show – vive la difference.

  5. SOURCE CREATOR on May 2, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Fantastic film and so informative!

  6. María Angélica Matar on May 2, 2022 at 6:56 pm


  7. Home Gardens on May 2, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    I need to grow more herbs.

  8. susantha padmakumara on May 2, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    come to sri lanka. we are the first country that completely convert to environmental agriculture …

  9. Karina Threms on May 2, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    dear Charles.

    I simply have to write to you .. can not get my arms down from bare joy.
    I started no dig in the spring, and put potatoes onions etc .. I have for several years grown in the more "normal" way because that was what I was taught. BUT this year it should be different after years of failures with potatoes. I had a piece of 2 x6 meters and I gained over 70 kg of potatoes, without counting new early potatoes, so only save potatoes. it’s so wild, there were about 18 kg of new small fine potatoes, so about 90 kg of potatoes on the small piece .. (I did not put too many potatoes .. and did not have to dig a single time to get them up .. we just lift them up, and found those that were not on the stem by pure finger force in the ground, so that the number of broken potatoes was = 0
    my onions were big nice, put them in 5 per "hole" they were nicer than the ones I put in a row .. so need to make even more no dig
    so thank you so much for your time you spend teaching us about, it makes a great difference and with much less weeding, which certainly does not matter 😜

    lots of no dig love

  10. Emma Hutchings on May 2, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Fascinating video! Learnt so much, thank you 🙂

  11. 64dexta on May 2, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for that Charles, very interesting. It’s always nice to learn a bit of history about the origin and uses of plants.
    Regarding the licorice, beware! It can be a real thug given damp silty conditions, the roots will spread several meters very quickly! Ideally unless you want commercial quantities, it needs confining in an 80L plastic dustbin or similar tapered sided vessel. Fill the bins to four inches below the rim with good stone free top soil and plant one licorice root cutting or potted plant in the middle. Keep it well watered and free draining, after around three or four years you can tip it out and clip the roots back and replant the parent plant in fresh soil. The fresh cut root can be used straight away or dried. You can also propagate new plants from root cuttings.
    It might be an interesting experiment to try it in a no dig bed and see if it will harvest like spuds, just under the compost?
    Thank you once again to you and all the crew.

  12. Peter McFadden on May 2, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    I planted a bay tree in my old garden in Conwy, North Wales about 40 years ago. The present owners have let it grow, and it is now higher than the house with a trunk two feet diameter.

  13. T Verveine on May 2, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    Bjr Charles, Super il y a la traduction en français, c’est plus facile sinon je ne regarde que les images 😉 Thank you Charles, c’est passionnant les herbes aromatiques, j’en ai toujours eu dans mes jardins.

  14. Luke Den bleyker on May 2, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    A cut and cook with ladies and some more herb talk. In the spring?

  15. Natalya Dubinina on May 2, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Dear Charles, thank you so much for this video and all of your efforts. She is so passionate and knowledgeable! I love using herbs , growing 5 verities of basil now, struggling in the heat of California. In my cooking I melt lots of real butter , add all desired herbs, and then add meats or vegetables, I also use herbs for cut flower bouquet and home soap making and pesticides . Then she is talking potatoes, makes me jump in the kitchen and fix some potatoes, because if I do not have potatoes, onions and garlic- I think that I don’t have any food , yeh. My name is Natasha and I am a potato , onion, garlic addict 🙂 Cheers to all growing friends!

  16. Shanon Balser on May 2, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    I just bought the Charles Dowding Diary to help with planting times. Is there a chart that adapts from his growing dates to other growing dates for us in different zones? For instance, I am in zone 7 in the US

  17. Paul Higham on May 2, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    What a fantastic video, I’m new to gardening and your channel Charles is my go-to learning source, this segment has come at the perfect time. As an aside I’m also a video editor (not a YouTuber) and have loved watching the production value increase with the same abundance as your plants and vegetables! If your video man, sorry I don’t know his name ever wants to geek out about video production techniques I’d love to hear from him, drop me a message or reply here. I’ve got some tips to avoid the chorusing/phasing effect that dips in and out here over multiple microphones. Not a criticism, I’m just a huge fan of conversation!! Keep up the fantastic work!

  18. Ian S Cash on May 2, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    superb video

  19. Lula Johns on May 2, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    I love it.

  20. Thomas Abrahams on May 2, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    This was such a great watch

  21. MUSTASCH1O on May 2, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    Would love to see more on getting the most flavour out of herbs and vegetables in the kitchen.

  22. C DoubleU on May 2, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Hey Charles & crew, I have made a new bed with compost only and I am a believer. So I want to convert my current dig patch to no-dig. I have watched many videos about starting a new no dig garden. None of them are about converting an existing ‘dig’-garden to no dig with plants in it etc. What would you recommend?

  23. Terry McGeary on May 2, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Really fantastic information thank you! I’m thinking of making a change to my front wildflower (newspaper no-dig) meadow (that passersby comment on often) and perhaps making it a herbal come-and-smell-or taste circle that will also attract bees and butterflies.Elecampane may well feature in it for the colour and height, along with some of the hollyhocks I grew this year. I need to save this video in my favourites folder for reference for seed and plant buying. Magic!

  24. Hakan Bozyaka on May 2, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    Hi…Can this method be implemented in trees?

  25. You See Cars on May 2, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    I actually own Jekka McVickar, New Book of Herbs, the Queen of Herbs is actually here simply amazing. Great one Charles

  26. Loriful on May 2, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    To see when to harvest tomatoes, paint your nails the color of a perfect tomato and compare them to see when they are ready, and never again pick one too early because of bad lighting in the shade~

  27. David Christopher Salomon on May 2, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Nicely done!

  28. Olatony on May 2, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    This is a fantastic edition Charles. Thank you so much to Jekka, I am encouraged to get my herb garden going now.
    Really appreciate you all and especially for the tips from both you lovely ladies.

  29. Gypsy Gem on May 2, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    what a fabulous episode! As a Medical Herbalist I love seeing people get into their herbs. Thank you so much Charles, Jekka and Kate! PS have you got any lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) in there? Makes a wonderful tea and is also great for ice creams and cakes!

  30. Natalie Taylor on May 2, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Jekka made an important point arbout her herbs not being sold as small plants but are two year old well developed plants. It has taken me many years to realise that this is true of many plants sold at garden centres. I started keeping purchased plants in pots on my patio to enjoy for a season because of the rate of losses when planted out and because l wanted to take time to find where this plant would fit in an already crowded border. With this approach plants that l have previously struggled to grow are thriving, yet l have never heard a TV presenter gardener suggesting this, presumably because they can afford to buy big plants and have large gardens. Another tip she gave was not to be in a hurry to decide a plant has died. This is so true. I often pot things up before throwing away and it’s amazing how a single 4 inch stem with no leaves on can sometimes miraculously come to life!

  31. Luca M on May 2, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    This past winter I setup a small no dig plot, but made a big mistake. All my land is hillside, so I got a neighbor to make a terrace with a excavator. Then I proceeded with the cardboard and compost, only to find out that the roots don’t go further than the compost. Is there hope that the following year the compacted soil will improve or do I need to try again on uncompacted soil? Thanks!

  32. AJWGBFX on May 2, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    That was really great about the growing of the herbs. I’ve got a voucher to spend at a local garden centre. Know what I’m adding to my shopping list!
    Can you get back Kate the Chef at some point to show us how to use all the herbs we are going to grow?
    Best wishes

  33. D Jackson on May 2, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    Enjoyed this video. Thanks for the time catalog. Quite the learning session.

  34. Freeranged GB on May 2, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    Amazing as always Charles

  35. Juan Retief on May 2, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    Funny story. All my herbs grow like mad. Fennel, Dill, Marjoram, Corriander, Sage, Origanum, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley and the whole lot, but the one garden weed called Mint is dying.

  36. Pascal Aschwanden on May 2, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    After all these years, i think i finally found a vegetable that’s growing better in my garden than Charles Dowding. I’ve got a huge Bay leaf tree doing great. but, i wasn’t the one who planted it. Yikes.

  37. The Perfect Poor on May 2, 2022 at 7:28 pm


  38. Savelina Filemoni on May 2, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Loved all the information😊

  39. Abbie Clark on May 2, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Maybe do another spot with just Kate as she was just steam rolled.

  40. Lynn on May 2, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Such a good video with lots of information. I plan to watch it again and take notes. Thanks!

  41. Meselemias Sacul on May 2, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    I would love the video of harvesting day mister charles.

  42. Jollean Smith on May 2, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    I love every bit of this. So glad you shared the benefit to pollinators. Herbs can be incredibly abundant so it is fun to find ways to use them more. We love drying them and mixing them with salts to make your own seasoning. Great video collaboration.

  43. Kathryn Mettelka on May 2, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    Three great educators cross-pollinating, so to speak.

  44. Moth Turtle on May 2, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    I really must try some of the more unusual (for modern day Britain) herbs – I’ve never even heard of some of these!

  45. Deborah Darling on May 2, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    my favourite episode ever ! x

  46. Holli Lawrence on May 2, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Kids min

  47. Nonno Ziccardy on May 2, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Outstanding video!

  48. Leah on May 2, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    That bit about bees visiting lamiaceae to heal themselves is fascinating! Does anyone know where I can find more information on this?

  49. The Perfect Poor on May 2, 2022 at 7:42 pm


  50. Mr Dean on May 2, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks Charles your the best.

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