Herbs are nature’s way of making food taste better. They are also used in natural remedies for a wide range of maladies, so what better way to get healthy than by growing your own herb garden?
Herbs do not have to take up a lot of space, and can be moved indoors or out depending on the season. With the warm growing season here, it is a great time to get some growing outside. Here are some tips on getting started with your own backyard herb garden.
Pick herbs that work the best for your purposes. Most herbs are easy to grow, but pick ones you will actually use or ones that work well as companion plants to other plants you are growing. Some great starter herbs include thyme, rosemary, dill, sage, oregano, chives, parsley, peppermint, catnip and lavender.
Choose your location carefully. Many household herbs grow best in well-drained soil in a sunny spot in your yard, but be sure to read labels on what each of the plants require. Compost can be added to boost the nutritional content of your soil.
If you are short on garden space, put your herbs in pots. That way, you can always bring them indoors when it starts getting cooler out.
Most herbs are useful for their leaves rather than their flowers, so pinching them off and harvesting them can be a good way to keep the focus on producing leaves over flowers.
Harvest often after your herbs are several inches tall. Herbs will grow more abundant the more you harvest from them. Be sure to harvest no more than a third of the plant at once, and wait for regrowth before harvesting again.
After harvest, you might want to preserve some your herbs for later use. Drying is one popular method of preparing herbs for storage. Some herbs, like parsley and chives, should only be used fresh, as they do not retain their flavor well when dried. Herbs can also be frozen.
One fun way to freeze herbs is to create little flavor ice cubes with them that can be added to cold water, soups, stews or other dishes. They either melt into the water for a tasty and healthy drink or cook into the dish being prepared.
Herb plants are usually quite hardy, meaning they can be wonderful for little hands. Encourage your children or grandchildren to help you plant an herb garden.
This could inspire a lifelong passion for gardening. Little pots, little tools and starting with seeds can all be fun ways to appeal to children.
Herbs can be a great gateway into backyard gardening for all ages. They are easy to grow and maintain, and can be brought indoors for the winter.
Herbs provide that extra spike of flavor in many dishes, and think of how much your cat will love you when you put some freshly dried catnip in their favorite toys.
The time is now to start your own little backyard farm-to-table movement.