My herb and small vege garden has really taken off. It’s just outside the kitchen, so very convenient to pop out and pick some Cos lettuce for lunch or herbs for the salad. Zeph and Zsa Zsa are also enjoying herbs in their dog food.

I pick some lemon balm, boil some water and pour over it, then leave to steep for five minutes. I add this to their water bowl. It’s a very dog-friendly herb – great for digestion, neutralises gas and can help with anxious dogs or those who have sleep problems. I also mince up some lemon balm and put in their dinner bowls.

Lemon balm is one of my favourite herbs because of its very distinctive lemon-mint taste. I drink it as a tea in the morning – just steep some leaves for five minutes in the tea pot and you’re good to go. Add some honey if it’s too herb tasting. For humans, lemon balm is one of those amazing all-round herbs. It boosts the immune system and helps with detoxing because it stimulates the liver.

I also use thyme for whipping up a tea. It’s a great herb for people with breathing issues or bronchitis, coughs, colds and throat infections.

Next up, I’m going to try and grow garlic. I recently read that the garlic available in Australian and NZ supermarkets is called Chinese White and it’s sprayed with chemicals and fertilizers banned in Oz and NZ. Here’s what I read on a particular site:

“The bright white flawless looking Chinese garlic is often bleached with chlorine. Most concerning is that Chinese garlic is still being grown using chemicals banned in Australia long ago and it is reported that raw human sewage has be used as fertiliser. To be able to allow it into our country, the quarantine department, AQIS, fumigates every single bulb with methyl bromide, one of the world’s most dangerous chemicals for human and environmental health. It is kept in cold storage (a garlic no-no!) and is often too old by the time it reaches our shelves, which is why it’s sprouting or spongy when you get it.

If that’s the case, I’m going to grow my own – I’m just not sure if the South Island climate will be too frosty and cold.