Plant basil in a sheltered position and keep it well-watered in the heat of summer. Pruning (or regular harvest) can keep the plants compact and also extend their productive life. Unlike most herbs, its flavour increases with cooking. Includes sweet basil, purple basil, etc.
Hardy in garden beds or in pots, plant chives in full sun but don’t let them dry out. If the weeding gets away from you, chives can be distinguished from surrounding grass by its hollow stems and pungent aroma. Remove flowers to promote a long life.
Chillies are really just tiny capsicums — with a much hotter taste! They grow in sun or part shade and are tolerant of a range of soil types. They also grow well in pots. Keep them moist and lightly mulched. Chillies come in a range of different ‘temperatures’ and also a range of colours. Regular harvest promotes further fruit development. Chillies won’t ripen off the bush.
Mint is easy to grow and can actually become a little invasive if allowed to escape from its pot. It grows in either full sun or shade and likes a well-drained soil. Keep it moist for best results and remove flowers for a longer productive season. Look out for peppermint, spearmint, pineapple mint or chocolate mint.
Lemon grass is delicious in cooling summer drinks like fruity iced teas. Its 1.5 metre tall, grassy clumps will grow in pots or garden beds. In stir fries or curries, only the soft, inner stem is used — give it a whack with the back of a knife to release its flavours before using it. Grow lemon grass in a full sun position with plenty of moisture.