Growing Your Own Herb Garden: Benefits and Tips
It is a known fact that gardening relieves stress. You may wish to try your hand at gardening too but are not sure if it will work out fine. Some people may be turned off at the thought of getting mud all over their hands. Perhaps you think you don’t have enough space for a garden. Whatever your apprehensions, growing herbs will be the perfect thing for you.
Why Grow Herbs
Herbs are easy to grow and require quite less space as compared to other plants. They also don’t take up much of your time and you’ll be able to reap their benefits quicker. Herbs will also add ornamental beauty to your garden.
Herbs impart flavor to food and are also rich in minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. With all the fresh herbs growing around you, you will certainly be tempted to throw some sprigs into your meal. Apart from eating healthy , the gardening will also be a form of exercise for you.
Buying herbs from the market is very costly. Moreover, you may have to buy a whole bunch of a particular herb when you only need a few of its leaves. When you grow your own herbs, you only pick as much as you need, thereby minimizing wastage. And you don’t have to spend a fortune to get started on your herb garden.
Sometimes a recipe may need an exotic herb that you can’t find in the market. You can grow all types of herbs by yourself and save the time, energy and money that you’d put into going to the market.
Stacking Herb display
You don’t even have to consume the herbs that you grow. Just draw in the fragrance-filled air in your garden and you’ll feel wonderful. You can make a potpourri of dried herbs, or use some to make candles or incense oils. You can also gift fresh or dried herbs to friends and family members. You might want to infuse a bottle of vodka with a herb such as dill and enjoy it yourself or present it to a loved one.
Types of Herbs
There are several varieties of herbs and it will do you good to know about them beforehand. Herbs can be classified according to their usage or their life cycle, generally annual or perennial.
According to their usage, herbs can be aromatic, culinary, medicinal or ornamental. Herbs such as marjoram, basil and mint are both aromatic and culinary herbs. Variegated varieties of mint, chives, lavender and thyme are preferred as ornamental plants. Medicinal herbs can be harmful to you. So if you aren’t aware of the uses of a particular herb, refrain from planting it.
According to their life cycle, herbs are classified as annuals that bloom for only one season; biennials that live for two seasons but bloom only in the second; and perennials that bloom every year. Marjoram, fennel, tarragon, mint and thyme are some perennial herbs that you can use for various purposes. If you would like to grow different herbs every year, you can pick from annuals such as basil, coriander, anise, dill or chervil.
Before you set out purchasing seeds or starts to plant in your garden, work out a plan. Think of which herbs you will be making use of. If you have limited space, planning appropriately will ensure you are growing all that you want instead of herbs that you won’t have any use for.
A unique way to grow herbs is planted in herb spirals. Don’t worry if you don’t have room for a sprawling garden; a herb spiral with a base diameter of just 3 feet will be able to hold together everything you need.
Herb spirals are designed to create different micro-climates. At the top, sun-loving herbs that need well-drained soil will grow well; herbs that need shade and more water are to be planted towards the bottom. Herb spirals are not just functional but also act as beautiful focal points for gardens.
If a herb spiral does not interest you, you can also keep each herb in an individual pot and grow them around your patio or deck, enlarging the pot size as they grow. Be sure to grow the perennials and annuals separately so that you can easily replace the herbs as needed. If you intend to grow different herbs in rows in the ground, plant taller ones at the back. This will help you reach all of them.
Herbs also grow well in pots. Some herbs such as mint are better off in pots as they can quickly grow and overtake the whole garden. You can suspend the pots from a height or leave them on the ground. For people who love green surroundings but don’t want to deal with all the mess, potted herbs are the best. One can create extra green cover by making use of artificial grass.
You can consider creating an indoor herb garden. You’ll have to make sure the herbs get adequate natural or artificial light. You can also place potted herbs on your kitchen window sill. This way you can easily harvest your herbs while cooking. Make sure you trim the tips of all your herbs by a couple of inches to boost leaf growth. Well-drained soil is a must for all herbs. Using a lot of fertilizer is not advised as the plant will sprout more leaves that are less fragrant.
Harvest the leaves judiciously. You can start harvesting herbs as soon as they mature but remember to leave a third of the leaves on the plant. If you harvest more leaves at once, the herb may take more time to recover and sprout new leaves. Gardening in general helps one unwind and feel energized. Growing herbs in particular is a form of aromatherapy. If you don’t want too much on your hands, a little herb garden will make you feel a lot better.
Millie Rainer is a content strategist for Forestgrass.com. She is looking to build up her authority as a blogger – so she is excited to explore new topics. Follow her on Twitter @MillieRainer.
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