Organic Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm: Melissa officinalis
- From the Greek word for Honeybee (flowers are loved by them)
- A useful kitchen herb with a wonderful uplifting scent
- March (indoor), May-July (outdoors)
- Harvest: June-December
A useful kitchen herb used for flavouring sweet and savoury dishes and makes a lovely refreshing herbal tea. Resembles mint but with an invigorating lemon scent when the leaves are crushed. It grows to a height of 40-60cm. If left to flower it has small white/pale lilac flowers that are loved by bees. It's best to prevent flowering early in the season as this affects the flavour of the leaves but allow some to flower later in the season. Regular harvesting of leaves throughout the season encourages new fragrant young leaves to grow.
Sow: March (indoor), May to July (outdoors). Cover lightly with fine compost. Keep moist at a temperature 18-20°C. Thin the seedlings to about 20-30cm apart.
Grow: Prefers a sunny or partly shaded spot in fertile soil. Keep soil moist as dry soil can cause bolting. Grow in a pot as it is an invasive herb. When the seedlings are a big enough to handle plant into free draining soil in 8cm pots which can be moved outside after the last frost. Cut down the flowering heads to encourage more leaf production but leave some flowers for the bees.
Harvest: June to December. Pick the leaves at anytime before flowering. The stems can be cut and dried for use over winter.