A Useful, Yet Oh So Beautiful Herbal Border

anise hyssopA food garden is a cooperative happening. The gardener, the soil, the weather (lets not forget the weather!) and the companions. Those companions are the icing on the cake – they bring it altogether. Today is all about them, specifically herbs, and how irreplaceable they are in your food garden (not to mention your life).

My garden is full of herbs. I love and adore them for the good vibration they bring and their endless uses. They keep me, my family and my soil in fine form. My list of favourites is long, but if I had to pick 5 I’d go with Anise Hyssop, Lemon Balm, Borage, Yarrow, Valerian …. actually lets go 15 – Parsley, Meadowsweet, Lemon Verbena, Comfrey, Calendula, Heartsease, Chamomile, Dandelion, Thyme, Echinacea, … perhaps 20? – Dill, Rosemary, Salad Burnet, Lavender, Catmint… πŸ™‚

A Useful Perennial Border

Create yourself a herbal border on as many sides of your vegie patch as poss. Choose the herbs you use, the ones you love and make the flowering ongoing throughout the year. (Don’t plant our mate comfrey in this border, far too rambunctious for beside the vegie patch.)

This border ticks plenty of boxes:

  • year round dazzle – nectar/ pollen rich flowers to feed the beneficials
  • ongoing supply of cut and come again mineral rich foliage for instant mulches. (now there’s a smart plan – no driving to buy the mulch – it’s right there! right, where you need it)
  • nutritious matter for your compost heaps
  • a boundary to keep that nitrogen robbing, high maintenance grass as far away from your food garden as poss
  • a bounty of herbs for cooking and medicine
  • to make your life pretty

meadowsweetMineral Rich Herbs

The reason herbs heal and soothe and boost us is they are jamming with minerals, essential oils, enzymes, alkaloids, bioflavanoids and and and …. Imagine the benefit to our food plants when grown next door, imagine the benefit to our soil when mulched with, imagine the strength of our soils when all that goodness is recycled back via compost. Check it out

  • Borage – potassium, calcium
  • Bracken – potassium, nitrogen
  • Chickweed – copper, boron, iron, zinc, phosphorus
  • Comfrey – phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, nitrogen
  • Chamomile – calcium, potassium
  • Clover – nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium
  • Dandelion – silica, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, nitrogen, sulphur
  • Fennell – copper, potassium
  • Gorse – nitrogen
  • Inkweed – potassium
  • Plantain – calcium
  • Stinging nettle – iron, phosphorus, copper, calcium
  • Thistles – nitrogen, copper, silica, potassium
  • Tansy – potassium
  • Thyme – vitamin c, copper, manganese, iron
  • Yarrow – sulphur, potassium, copper

For the most diverse, useful collection of herbs and companions in Aotearoa, go shopping at Kahikatea Farm.




  1. Surprised you stopped at 20!
    We’re doing our best to bring on herb seedlings in Wellington without the benefits of a greenhouse. Slow going and mixed success at germination but some are doing really well. Will be a few years before they fill the gaps in the new perennial beds though.