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Asda herbs that just love to be tickled

30th June 2011 Print
Steve Helm, Chief Tickler at Lincolnshire Herbs, Bourne

Prince Charles may talk to his plants to help them grow, but Asda likes to tickle its herbs to get the fullest blooms! 

Asda’s herb supplier uses mechanical rubber strips to really tickle its thyme and to make its basil blush resulting in the tastiest and most succulent herbs all year round.

Steve Helm, Chief Tickler at Lincolnshire Herbs, Bourne has been nick-named ‘Mr. Tickle’ as his role involves tickling over five football pitches of herbs up to 20 times per day. Steve has been tickling his herbs for four years and swears by his green fingered technique which involves passing mechanised thin rubber strips over the indoor plants to mimic the movement of rain, wind or the passing over of animals to stimulate growth in nature. 

Chief Tickler Steve has found that some herbs respond better than others, for example, Coriander has a complete sense of humour failure when it comes to tickling due the structure of the leaves whereas Basil is laughing all the way to the supermarket shelves. Lincolnshire Herbs are grown without pesticides which is where the secondary benefits of tickling comes in; the strips disturbs pests which then get trapped by flying onto yellow sticky traps.

Asda shoppers can’t get enough of the potted herbs with sales up 40% on last year alone. Basil is laughing itself silly as the nation’s favourite herb, followed by Coriander in giggling pursuit reflecting the nation’s love of Asian cooking. Tickled Thyme was introduced earlier this year and is proving very popular with shoppers, and from next month Asda will be introducing Watercress, Purple Basil and Sorrell to the range.

Helen Lear, Category Planner for Produce at Asda says: “Our potted herbs are the jolliest of the bunch with such excellent care and attention, and of course a regular bout of tickling to keep them amused and growing well!”

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Steve Helm, Chief Tickler at Lincolnshire Herbs, Bourne