You might be the type of person that may not want an elaborate flower garden or a gigantic vegetable garden. You might not have the time or space for either of those, then a herb garden should be perfect for you. So what is Herb Gardening ?
Herb Gardens are very popular nowadays for a few good reasons. A herb garden server a purpose has value and you can actually use what you grow. You don’t need a large space or too much time commitment.
Herb gardening won’t give you produce as significant as vegetable gardening but you will get some delicious, fresh herbs to flavor your cooking with. You can have a herb garden not just for its herbs to cook with but you can have a herb garden for its beauty and aroma too.
How to begin a Herb Garden
Choosing Your Herb Plant
For every garden you want to start you have to first think about the plant you wish to grow. There are a variety of herbs you can choose from. What you can do is, look inside your kitchen and check out all the herbs you have. You can most probably grow any of these herbs already in your kitchen. This saves you money and time and you know you will use the herbs for your cooking. Some great herbs for a herb garden are parsley, mint, rosemary, chives, sage, and basil among others. Seeds now sell quality seeds that you can use to start your herb garden
Select an Area
This is important for every garden. All plants including herbs require good sunlight. Herbs may not require a large space or big containers like other plants but they need sunlight and good drainage. You can grow herbs outdoors or indoors. Small containers are best with good drainage holes for an indoor herb garden.
Be careful with watering if you have an outdoor garden. When digging a hole for your herb plants add a layer of crushed rocks before adding in the soil. This will allow water to drain faster. Herbs do not need a lot of water and good drainage is important for a healthy plant.
Keep in mind the type of herb you want to grow. Some herbs like the mint grow very fast and if u plant them in an open area in the ground they will take up the entire space in a few days. Best to grow them in small containers for these types of herbs.
Plant from Seed
Once you have a herb in mind to plant and an area selected, its best to grow your herb from seed. You can also use the herbs you find in your kitchen.
Basil is a very common herb to grow. There are various types of basil and they can be used as decoration and as an ingredient for flavor in foods.
Chives are perfect for gardening as they are very sturdy. They can even survive a drought. Chives resemble blades of grass but are must stronger than they appear. You can use them for salads or different sauces.
Mint is the most exciting herb to grow. You don’t have to dry mint leaves before using them. You can pick off mint leaves from a plant and use them in your food and drinks immediately. They smell great and taste wonderful. Virgin mojito, anybody?
Thyme and Sage are grown for their flavor. They are both used in several food dishes.
Lavender is grown for its unique aroma and its beautiful light purple flower. Often you buy household items that feature a lavender flavor.
Well, a live lavender plant will give you a 100% fresh aroma
Other types of herbs include chervil, sweet marjoram, sesame and more. They are all used for cooking, beauty, and aroma.
You can Harvest and store your herbs as dried herbs or as fresh herbs.
Harvesting your beautiful herbs is the best thing about starting a herb gardening. You can use them for cooking and make your food taste much better.
Harvest them only if your plant is very well established. Do not take off any of the leaves if you feel your plant hasn’t grown fully yet. Wait for a few months even after your plant looks healthy. Do not pick off too many leaves. If you take off too much your plant may stop growing more.
If you do this right you will have a herb plant giving you fresh herbs for years.
Once you pick off the leaves, you need to wash them. Let them dry for a few days. After that, you can crush the leaves and place them on a baking tray with a baking sheet and popping it in the oven. 180 degrees for a couple of hours should do it. After they have dried you can immediately use them for cooking.
You can store herbs to use later in a plastic or glass container. Avoid paper or carboard as they tend to absorb the flavor of the herbs.
Keep a close watch on your container for a few days. Make sure there is no moisture accumulating. If you do find moisture, you will have to re-dry your herbs and place them back in a dry container. Moisture invites mildew and you don’t want that for your precious herbs.
Drying herbs is known to be more concentrated and is preferred in some recipes than fresh herbs.
But you can store herbs fresh as well. Below is an info graphic on what you can use your herbs for, in cooking and how to store fresh herbs.
Herb Gardens are great and easy. If you like cooking and caring for plants consider growing a herb garden. With a little bit of effort you get natural aroma in your house and natural flavor for your food, what else can you ask for?