If you’re not the type of person who wants to spend their time managing an elaborate fruit or vegetable garden, you might consider planting and maintaining an outside herb garden. While the product itself might not seem as significant now, you’ll still enjoy the constant availability of fresh, delicious herbs to flavor your meals with. First you’ll want to choose the actual herbs for growing. You might have a difficult time doing this because of the huge scope of holistic herbs available. But the best way to choose is to do what I did; just take a look at the kitchen herbs you are already using. By planting your own fresh herb garden, you will save money compared to buying them in the grocery store; all the while having the added herbs benefits of freshness. Some of the herbs you might want to start with include rosemary, garlic, sage, basil, dill, mint, chives, and parsley among others.
When choosing a location to place your home herb garden, you should remember that the soil should have a sufficient amount of drainage. If the dirt constantly gets watered and stays completely saturated, you will never have a chance of ever growing a healthy plant. One of the best ways to fix the drainage problem is to dig a foot deep in the soil, and put a layer of crushed rocks down before replacing all the soil. This will allow all that water to escape, thus saving your plants.
When you are ready to begin planting herbs, you might be tempted to buy the more expensive plants from the store. However, with herbs it is much easier to grow them from an herbs seed rather than it is with other plants. Besides, you will save a bundle of money by sticking with seed packets. Some herbs grow at a dangerously fast rate. For example, if you plant mint in an open space then it will take over your entire garden in a matter of days. The best way to prevent this problem is to plant the more aggressive herbs in pots (with holes in the bottom to allow drainage, of course).
When it comes time to harvest the herbs you have labored so hard over, it can be fatal to your plant to harvest too much at one time. If your plant isn’t well established, it won’t be healthy enough to take any leaves at all, even if it looks like its not using them. You should wait until your plant has become well established for at least several months before taking off any leaves. This wait will definitely be worth it, because by growing unattended your plant will produce healthier herbs for years to come.
Once you’ve harvested your delicious home grown herbs, you’ll want to use them in cooking. Why else would you have grown them? Well the process first begins with drying them out. This is easily achieved by placing them on a screen for a good airing. Turn them often so they dry evenly. After they’re sufficiently dried to be used in cooking, you can consult the nearest cookbook for instructions on using them to effectively flavor any meal.
If you want to store your herbs for later usage, you should keep them in a glass container. Preferably brown so as not to let the light in. Paper or cardboard will not work, because it will absorb the taste of the herbs. During the first few days of storage, you should regularly check the container to see if any moisture has accumulated. If it has, you must remove all the herbs and re-dry them. Put layers of salt between the rows of herbs for faster absorption. If moisture is left from the first drying process, it will encourage mildew after you have stored your herbs. Nobody likes mildew.
So if you enjoy herbs or gardening, or both, then you should definitely consider setting up your own herb garden. It might require a little bit of work at first with setting it up for proper drainage and by picking which herbs you intend to grow. But after the initial preparation, it’s just a matter of watching them grow, then harvesting and drying all your favorite herbs for later use.
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Kali S Winters
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