This hardy perennial herb is becoming an increasingly popular for a multitude of culinary uses. The young shoots can be cut in spring, and used as a substitute for asparagus. Leave some shoots to develop through summer and by August, the young leaves will make an excellent alternative to spinach. Try Good King Henry leaves mixed with sorrel and chard leaves for their contrasting flavours - you can even eat the tender flower buds. This useful herb can also be grown for winter greens if given cloche protection. Height: 60cm (24"). Spread: 40cm (16").
Direct sow Good King Henry seed outdoors from March to June in fertile, well-drained, soil, which has been raked to a fine tilth. Choose a position in full sun or semi shade. Sow seed thinly at a depth of 1cm (½in) in rows 30cm (12") apart. Good King Henry seed may be slow to germinate. When plants are large enough to handle, thin the seedlings to 15cm (6") apart.
Keep the soil weed free and water during dry conditions. Some early stems of Good king Henry plants may be harvested, taking care to leave plenty of stems intact for harvesting as a spinach-like crop later in the season. The leaves may be harvested 6-8 weeks after sowing, selecting just a few leaves from each plant. Good King Henry plants self seed freely. Deadhead the flowers if further seedlings are not required.
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