BEFORE today, the best garden use for your newspaper - after you've had a good, long read - was to turn it into mulch.
But now your local paper can help get your garden started.
Each day for the next fortnight we are giving away packets of seeds.
Cut out the token from your paper each day and exchange it for a free packet of seeds from participating newsagents.
We're starting today with basil, the king (or queen) of herbs, followed by coriander, Italian parsley, thyme, oregano and chives.
Next week we'll be giving away flower seeds every day.
To get your green thumbs warmed up and your tastebuds tingling, here are some tips from our gardening experts:
To grow: Sow 5mm deep in full sun or semi-shade in final position to avoid transplant shock. Firm down gently and keep moist. Seedlings should emerge in 10 to 14 days. Pinch the tip from the central shoot after about six weeks. Snip off flower stalks.
To use: Add basil at the last minute when cooking, or the flavour will be lost.
To grow: Sow as per basil. Thin to 20cm apart. Seedlings emerge in seven to 10 days.
To use: Snip off as many leaves as you want. They will grow back.
To grow: Sow 6mm deep in final position in rich, well drained soil in sun or semi shade. Keep moist until seedlings emerge in 21 to 28 days. Thin to 15cm apart and later to 30cm apart.
To use: To keep cut parsley fresh, put the stalks in a glass of water in the fridge.
To grow: Sow 5mm deep in well drained soil, 30cm apart, and cover lightly with seed raising mix. Keep moist. Seedlings emerge in 14 to 28 days.
To use: Thyme can be dried - gather leaves just before the flowers open.
To grow: Sprinkle seeds on the surface in final, well drained position and cover with soil. Keep moist. Thin to 20cm apart. Sow all year round in pots. Seedlings emerge in 16 to 20 days.
To use: Unlike many herbs, oregano retains flavour when dried, and you can dry it in the oven.
To grow: Sow 6mm deep in well drained soil, in groups of three to four seeds. Seedlings emerge in 10 to 14 days. Cull the weaker seedlings, keeping one plant per group, 15cm apart.
To use: Add finely chopped chives to just about any savoury dish.
There will be 12 varieties on offer during the next two weeks. A week of delicious herb seeds and a week of beautiful flower seeds.
Redeem a token from our paper each day and exchange it for a free packet of seeds from participating newsagents.
The seeds will be:
- Today: Basil
- Tuesday: Coriander and Italian parsley
- Wednesday: Thyme
- Thursday: Oregano
- Friday: Chives
- Saturday: Sunflower
- Tuesday: Zinnia and Golden everlastings
- Wednesday: Snapdragon
- Thursday: Fresh Flower Mix
- Friday: Petunia
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