The herb garden tips below are sure to help you grow the best indoor herb garden you’ve ever grown!
The herb garden tips below are sure to help you grow the best indoor herb garden you’ve ever grown!
The herb garden tips below include information on their preferred growing environment as well as ways to use the herbs once you harvest them.
There are many benefits of container gardening, especially when the weather is constantly changing.
This spring , at least here in Indiana, has been a challege – to say the least – for gardeners who want to plant in the ground.
One day, the weather is warm and very spring-like.
The next day there is snow on the ground and the temperatures are below freezing.
Honestly, I don’t ever remember seeing spring weather like this before and the best way to combat this is to grow plants in containers this year.
I believe climate change is happening and that makes it difficult to maintain our gardens the way we always have.
One of the difficulties of maintaining a lush garden is fickle weather.
Changing weather patterns also inhibits plants’ growth and development.
Any slight variation in the weather pattern brings about drastic effects to plants and often makes gardening unsustainable.
One way to get around tricky weather conditions is to grow your plants in containers.
Container gardening is a good solution that you can scale up or down to suit your need.
There are plenty of benefits to this form of spring gardening including harvesting some vegetables earlier than if they were planted in the ground.
Aside from its space-saving advantage, it can help you produce flowers, herbs or vegetables despite tricky weather conditions.
Read on to find out how container gardening can help you get around your gardening issues with changing weather patterns.
You can grow an adequate amount of herbs, vegetables or flowers even if you are experiencing challenging weather conditions.
Whether it’s due to prolonged dry or wet season, container gardening allows you to position your plants in such a way that they don’t get exposed to extremely cold or scorching weather.
You can move and space taller plants in strategic spots to serve as windbreaks and to protect smaller and more fragile plants from high wind or heavy rain.
Aside from windbreaks, you may place more heat-tolerant plants in such a way that they provide shade to plants that don’t need full sun.
Containers can also heat up quickly during the day, so always place less heat-tolerant plants on the north side of your property and the heat-loving ones on the south side.
Water is fast becoming an expensive commodity.
Some places have restricted its use during seasons of drought, resulting in steep environmental penalties if you do not follow the protocols.
Container gardens are an effective way to save on water and still achieve your desired harvest.
You can group your pots in a way that maximizes your garden’s mist or drip irrigation system.
Some areas of your garden will naturally stay shaded throughout the day.
Whether you are gardening in an urban or a rural landscape, you can take advantage of these microclimates to grow plants in warm — or cool environments.
Keep a look out on trees shadows, walls, and roof shade as these can provide an area for growing less heat-tolerant plants.
On the other hand, watch out for areas that receive plenty of light, so you can still grow your plants during colder seasons.
These are the main things you gain from container gardening in this period of climate chaos.
While some would recommend that you buy huge containers to plant more in little spaces, try to invest in pots and bins that you can quickly move in case the weather decides to change its mind.
Finally, you can practice other farming techniques with container gardening such as growing intensively in a small space and even companion planting to prevent pests and plant diseases.
When it comes to common herbal medicine garden plants that are easy to grow indoors, in containers or outdoors in the ground, these fourteen herbs are some of the easiest to start with.
Long before there were doctors and high-tech medications, people were growing their own herbal remedies so they could be more self-sufficient and manage a large number of illnesses that affected their friends, family members or themselves.
Many common herbal remedies can be grown, gathered, steeped in teas, or put in ointments however it is important to remember to seek medical advice for serious illness or long term illness and that this article is not intended to diagnose, instead use it as a guide.
If you don’t know how to use the herb you plan to use, check with an herbalist or get a book at a whole foods store or health food store about the best ways to use these plants for their therapeutic value or better yet, ask a doctor.
While not all medical doctors believe in using herbs, there are ones out there that do.
If you are taking prescription or even over-the-counter medication you need to ask your doctor before you begin using herbs to make sure there is not going to be a negative interaction between the herbs and the medication.
You don’t have to have a huge herb garden to produce enough fresh herbs for medicinal use for yourself or your immediate family.
Start with a few items and expand your common herbal medicine garden as you gain experience growing the plants.
It is also a good idea to keep notes and see how the herbs you grow work on life’s little ailments without using any kind of over the counter or prescription medication.
In the event that things ever go south or SHTF you will have first hand knowledge of what works and what simply does not work.
While many herbs are best used fresh, others are easy to dry and remain potent.
If you are ready to get started and want to learn how to preserve your herbs, be sure to check out my course Preserving Herbs For Winter Use!
Simply click the photo below to find out more!
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These five gardening tips are sure to save you money in both this, and future gardening seasons.
There are also links to products I recommend from companies I have a referral relationship with. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Plan your vegetable garden according to what your family, friends or neighbors are planting so you can share your vegetables when they’re ready for eating.
Many of us – myself included – know what it is like to have too many of one kind of vegetable because you can’t give what you grow away because my everyone’s were ripe at the same time.
While you can donate the produce to your local food pantry or soup kitchen even these places can end up with too much of the same item like zucchini or tomatoes and the food goes to waste.
Another option is to learn how to preserve the food you grow so you can eat it or actually grow it during the winter months when grocery store prices are high.
While this option does take some work, it can save a lot of money on your grocery bill.
Select perennials rather than annuals for your flowerbeds.
As they multiply each year, cut them back and exchange plants with your friends so you both have lovely gardens and save money at the same time.
Grow annuals from seed, select ones that are heirlooms so you can save the seeds to plant the following year.
Again, divide up who will grow what initially so you can swap seeds that fall.
Most seed packets come with an abundance of seeds anyway so another idea is to go in on packets of seeds with other gardeners then split the seeds up when they arrive.
Compost your kitchen scraps, as well as your coffee grounds and tea bags.
The end result is much better than any potting soil you can ever get buy from a nursery or hardware store.
The price is right, and this is definitely recycling!
For those who have chickens, let them help you break down your compost pile.
It will keep it bug free, you won’t need to do the turning and they will turn any kitchen scraps into manure plus you will save on your feed bill by letting them eat those scraps.
Instead of using mulch, try pebbles or small rocks in your garden as ground cover.
This will save you lots of cash since you won’t need to buy mulch in the spring and fall of every year.
For those who prefer mulch, check with your local utility company, tree companies that work in your area or even the local landfill.
Many of these places will give you the mulch they chop up from the trees they cut down because it saves them the expense of paying to dump it.
Local landfills often have a separate area for mulch or sometimes even compost – best of all it is often free or very cheap.
Spend more money now by purchasing better quality gardening tools and you will save in the long run.
They will last for years, saving you dollars because you don’t need to replace them every planting season.
The same goes for gardening gloves- make sure you buy the best you can afford so they last all season.
Be sure to check out the gardening tools before you buy them too so you know if they are a good fit for you.
I prefer a shorter shovel and like the ones with the steps on them. This makes it easier for me to use.
Questions or other money saving tips? Leave them in the comments below!
Boswellia sacra is technically classified as an herb, however I found it difficult to acquire either a start or seeds of this plant.
I have been on the hunt for seeds or starts of this plant for over three years.
After a very long search for either a live Boswellia sacra plant, or seeds I found that Living Stones Nursery in Tucson, Arizonia had some small plants for sale.
Learning how to grow this plant and keep it was happy was not easy.
I lost the first two before I figured out how to successfully grow it.
The botanical name of this leafy forest tree is Boswellia Thurifera, and it hails from the Burseraceae family.
The tree is most commonly known for the highly scented gum resin that it gives off.
This resin is obtained by making a deep, longitudinal incision in the trunk of the tree. Just below this incision, a narrow strip of bark that measures approximately five inches long is peeled off allowing the milk-like juice to run out. Once air touches this juice, it hardens and the incision is deepened.
It takes approximately three months for this substance to harden into the yellowish “tears” that we purchase. Sap from the Frankincense trees can be gathered from May until about the middle of September when rain showers end the harvest season.
Although young trees yield the best harvest, the older trees will also yield fluid which is more of a clear, glutinous fluid that resembles coral varnish.
Grown on the Somali coast line, without soil, these trees seem to grow out of polished marble secured by thick oval masses of substances that resemble lime and mortar. They produce white or pale rose flowers on short pedicels in single axillary racemenes that are shorter than the leaves.
Frankincense can also be found on the coast of Southern Arabia where the Somalis make yearly visits to collect the resin of the Frankincense.
Although Frankincense is a stimulant, it is seldom used internally anymore although at one time it was in great demand.
It was thought to be an antidote to Hemlock, as well as during the tenth century it was used for tumors, vomiting, ulcers, fevers, as well as dysentery.
The Chinese were also known to use it for leprosy.
The most common use these days for the Francinsense resin is incense and pastilles.
It is also commonly substituted for Balsam Of Peru or Balsam Of Tolu in the manufacturing of plasters.
Another modern day use of Frankincense is steam inhalation which is supposed to aid in relieving bronchitis and laryngitis.
Religious use of Frankincense can be found among the Jews, Greeks, at the feast of Bel, Among the Egyptians and of course, it was a gift to Baby Jesus and is used among modern day Christians, and other religions.
Most commonly associated with spiritualiy, it is easy to see that Frankincense has many other useful properities.
If you have not yet tried the resin of this plant, I would definitely reccomend getting some and trying it, I find the odor very pleasing.
As far as growing Boswellia sacra, I have learned from hands on experience.
The first time I found them I ordered two small seedlings. As soon as I received them, I potted them up using my regular potting mix which is a combination of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. I also used plastic pots.
I noticed they did not grow much over the summer which I thought was odd, but I figured maybe they were just slow growers.
That winter when I lost both seedlings even though they were in the greenhouse among other cacti and succulents that were thriving.
The second time I ordered a larger one and potted my plant up in a pre-made cactus potting mix as soon as it arrived.
I chose to grow it in a clay pot the second time around and it did much better than what it did in the plastic pot.
I noticed immediate growth. I also noticed it grew pretty fast during the summer months.
The cooler temperatures above freezing did not bother my plant – nor did the higher ones my greenhouse experienced during the summer months.
I also tried growing it indoors one winter and it did fine without needing any additional light.
Boswellia need evenly moist, well drained soil.
Do not allow this plant to sit in water.
This plant does not like wet soil – nor does it like being completely dry.
I found the plant preferred indirect sun.
When I move it outdoors I put it in a shady area that receives a little bit of sunlight as the sun goes down in the evening.
Indoors I put it in a window where it gets similar sunlight in the evening.
These three easy herb gardening tips for beginners help you figure out where to begin the journey of growing your own fragrant, flavorful seasonings that are the perfect compliment to fruits and vegetables picked fresh from your own garden.
As you begin the journey to growing more of your own food, you acquire knowledge and skills to make informed decisions regarding how much of the food you use that you intend to grow.
If you are looking to take advantage of the opportunity to grow as much of your own food as possible, consider growing the herbs and spices you need to season the food you prepare.
Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way encourage yourself to cook more at home and experiment with different flavors.
Please note, there are links to products below that I recommend from companies I have a referral relationship with. If you click on a link and buy an item from that link, I get a small percentage of the money.
When you decide to start an herb garden, the first thing you need to do is to choose the types of herbs to grow. Although you can choose any herbs you want, there are a few things to consider.
First, you want to think about the herbs that are easier to grow, such as basil, chives, dill, lavender and oregano. These herbs are good for beginners because they are simple to grow, even for people who think they have black thumbs.
Plan ahead and know which of these herbs you use – or plan to use – in your recipes. It is so easy to find yourself having difficulty about making decisions when you buy herb plants without a clear goal in mind. They smell so wonderful and it is easy to think “I always have room for just one more plant.”
Instead of starting from seed – especially if you do not have a lot of experience germinating seeds, buy young plants. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting the seeds to germinate or growing the seedling into a plant that is large enough to start harvesting.
Herbs that are usually available as young plants include sage, thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley and mint. Think about the herbs you use most in your cooking right now or plan to use, then start with those. I recommend choosing three to five different herb plants to start with. Learn how to successfully grow those and then expand your herb garden if you wish.
It is important to have a plan of action on whether you want to grow the herbs you select in the ground or in containers. Both options work, so it really depends on the amount of space in your yard plus knowing what you want or need to easily care for and harvest the herbs you grow.
If you are going to plant them in the ground, you should make sure your soil is ready for planting. You want it to be dug and tilled, so that the soil isn’t too compacted. You should have proper drainage in the soil as well. Compost is good to add to the soil to help your herbs grow. Be aware herbs do not need lots of fertilizer or super rich soil. Many herbs thrive in less-than-ideal conditions so don’t over think this.
Herbs do like the soil they are growing in to be weed-free. Use compost, wood chips or some type of weed cloth to help keep the weeds down. Avoid chemical sprays because – after all – you are going to eat the leaves and flowers from these plants.
Be sure to remove any seed packets, garden markers or debris from the planting area before planting.
Herbs do very well in containers. Many experienced herb gardens scatter herb seeds in a container and wait for them to germinate. This does work, but young plants are much easier to work with and grow faster. Beginning herb gardeners often find it is better to start with plants. This way there is no worrying about identification once germination occurs and also less disappointment should the seeds fail to germinate.
What you need is a good pot or container for keeping the herbs in, from a clay pot to a mason jar. If using a mason jar, make sure it has holes drilled in it for drainage. You do need a special drill bit for drilling glass, ceramic or clay pots. I recommend placing masking tape on the bottom of the container before you start to drill, then drill right through the masking tape. This helps keep the pot from splintering or shattering.
Once you have decided on the container and made sure it has adequate drainage, you need some organic potting soil to put in the container or pot. It is ok to add some organic herb fertilizer. Plants grown in pots have less access to the minerals and nutrients than plants grown in the ground. Every time you water, come of the nutrients in the soil in containers wash out. This is why it is so important to replenish those nutrients with compost or an organic fertilizer.
As long as you know the amount of sun that is required, you can grow container herbs right in your home, close to or on a window sill. This is a great way to grow herbs year-round or grow your own herbs if you live in an apartment or have limited access to an outdoor growing area.
Herbs are one of the easiest plants to grow in part because they are very low maintenance plants so instead of worrying about success you can enjoy the experience of learning how to grow them. They do not require rich soil. They do not require fertilization when grown in the ground and very little fertilization when grown in pots. Most herbs are drought-tolerant and easily handle hot summer temperatures once they are established. Best of all growing and harvesting your own herbs saves money because you no longer need to buy as many herbs at the store.
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Container gardening has many benefits. It’s hard to believe more people don’t grow plants in containers. Although container gardening has become more popular over the past couple of decades, it still isn’t as popular as many other methods.
Here are six tips for successful container gardening that work well for vegetables, flowers, herbs and even house plants.
Many people live in apartments or in homes with very little yard space. Container gardening allows them to have a garden on a porch, patio, or even indoors. It is possible to grow a small container garden in a sunny windowsill in a kitchen, in a sunroom or spare bedroom.
Some people even grow plants in a closet by using a grow light!
Growing plants in pots really makes it easy to have a garden when you don’t have the space for a traditional one!
From flowers to herbs to vegetables you can grow almost anything in a container as long as the container is large enough and the plant properly cared for.
There are also links to products I recommend from companies I have a referral relationship with. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
One of the biggest benefits of growing your plants in containers is the fact that it makes gardening accessible to almost anyone. Handicapped individuals find growing their plants in containers makes it easier to locate plants where they can easily reach them. There are even containers made especially to mount on top of deck railings that make accessibility easier.
Many people in wheelchairs like to place their pots on a low table to make them more accessible to them. Elderly people who can’t work traditional gardens find container gardening to be an excellent way to once again enjoy their favorite hobby.
Even children find container gardening to be much easier than traditional gardening, because they don’t have to weed, rake or hoe, and they don’t have to have an adult turn the soil for them.
Another major benefit of container gardening is the ability to move plants if you need to.
If you’re growing your plants outdoors and bad weather comes, you can bring your plants inside where they’ll be safe.
If your plants are getting too little sun or too much, you can easily move the containers to a better location. This makes planting vegetables in containers so ideal for those who grow cool weather crops but wish to keep them growing during the hot summer days. Simply move the container to a shady area, add some mulch to the top of the soil and keep it watered so the soil stays cool.
You can even move your plants on a whim if you decide they’d look better elsewhere.
Plants grown in containers don’t have the same issues with diseases that plants grown in the ground often have. Although some container-grown plants do get diseases, it is far less likely than it would be if those plants were grown directly in the soil. Potting soil is generally free of disease-causing organisms. This is why purchasing potting soil designed for container gardening is recommended.
Saving space is another great benefit of container gardening.
Growing plants in containers is not difficult. Here are several tips for creating a wonderful hanging basket or container garden this summer.
Begin by using an artificial soil composed mostly of peat moss. Good soils such as Fafard or Pro-Mix use perlite, peat, and other ingredients to produce a soil that will not compact over the summer. Real garden soil compacts under the pressure of regular watering. When it does, plant roots stop growing because they require good open spaces to move into and absorb nutrients.
Hard, compacted soils do not grow good plants so do not use real soil in your containers. I re-use my artificial potting soil from year to year as long as I know the plants I grew in it did not die from disease or pest problems.
I dump the old out of the pot every spring. I break it up with a shovel to cut up all last year’s roots and add compost – approximately 10% by volume. The compost increases air spaces and gives plants a boost in healthy nutrition. I also check to see if there is still plenty of vermiculite and perlite in the mixture. If it looks like it needs more, I add some.
I make my own soil using peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. This mixture is sterile enough for seed starting and good enough to grow large tropical plants in.
In the event I am growing plants that overwinter in the containers, I top off each container plant with 3 inches of compost per year to add nutrients. I do make sure the plant is not root bound before I do this. In the event the plant is root bound, I remove it from the pot, remove as much soil as possible and follow the steps above.
When potting a plant up, choose a container that is one size larger than the container the plant is currently growing in.
It is important to feed your container plants weekly.
Keeping your plants well-fed is easier when they’re grown in containers. It’s also easier to ensure the fertilizer you use gets to your plants if they’re confined to a small area of soil.
When you fertilize plants that are growing directly in the ground, the fertilizer eventually washes away. It is absorbed by other nearby plants. This is not as likely when plants are grown in containers because typically there is only one plant in each container.
Of course, when plants are grown in containers, the soil mass is relatively small, thus the fertilizer can be washed out of the soil faster than when plants are grown in the ground. Because of this, you do often need to fertilize more often than you would a traditional in-ground garden.
But you can rest assured that your plants are getting more of the fertilizer before it washes out of the pot than they would get if they were grown in the ground.
Nitrogen, the engine of plant growth, is water soluble and as you water your containers from the top the dissolved nitrogen is leaving from the bottom. Nitrogen is important for plant growth.
I use a fish-emulsion liquid feed with seaweed to provide all the trace nutrients my plants require and recommend it highly.
I also sprinkle kelp in the top of my container plants. Kelp provides all the nutrients plants need and is especially good for using on edible plants. As the plants take up the nutrients in the fertilizer, they go into the fruits or vegetables and we get some of those nutrients when we eat the food the plant produces.
You can use any plant food that you like to promote growth. I recommend you choose one that is organic.
Compost tea is the Cadillac of liquid plant food and if you make your own compost tea, your plants will respond with bigger and better blooms as well as increased vigor. Moo Poo Tea from Authentic Haven Brand is a wonderful compost tea that I highly recommend. It works for both indoor or outdoor plants. It is ideal for established plants or seedlings. I use it a lot for seedlings in the greenhouse and get much larger, hardier plants.
Finally, no matter the size of the container, it is important to water it well every time you water. Continue watering until water emerges from the bottom of the container. This ensures the roots reach all parts of the container and grow properly because roots do seek out water.
Under watering or over watering is the main cause of failure in growing container – or even in ground plants.
Ideally you want the soil to remain evenly moist. The easiest way to do this is to throughly water the container every time.
If you use saucers under your pots to catch the runoff, dump them after 10 to 15 minutes. Leaving the pots sit in water is a recipe for disaster. There are always a few exceptions to every rule but for the most part, don’t let your plant sit in water.
Letting the soil dry out is another recipe for disaster. It happens sometimes even to the best of us. In the event the soil does dry out, submerge the pot in a bucket of water and leave it there for 15 minutes or so. The soil mass might float up out of the pot. Do not panic. Let it absorb the water and it will sink back into the pot. If the container won’t fit in a bucket, give it a through watering two to three times so soil and roots can soak up plenty of water.
Be sure to allow the plant to drain well afterwards.
When you grow your plants in containers, you’ll also be able to extend the growing season.
By carefully insulating pots by wrapping them in blankets or other insulating materials, you can keep the soil warmer than the ground soil. You can start your plants early indoors or in a cold frame, then you can easily move them to larger pots outdoors when the time is right.
You can use this method to grow plants after the first frost, and you can even bring plants indoors once it becomes too cold to keep them outside even when insulated.
In addition to keeping the soil warm, it is important to use frost cover over the tops of the plants to keep frost at bay. Do not lay the frost cover on the plant foliage. Instead construct a frame over the tops of your plants and put the frost cover on that.
In the event you do not have access to frost cover, use 6 mil. plastic but be sure to take it off once the sun comes up or your plant might burn up.
Follow these three simple tips and you are sure to succeed with your container gardening goals this year.
Remember these tips hold true for both indoor and outdoor plants.
Questions? Leave them in the comments below!
Container gardens create a natural sanctuaries along busy city streets, on rooftops or even on balconies. The key is to come up with creative containers that are pleasing to the eye and meet your needs.
You can easily accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with colorful pots of annuals, or fill your window boxes with beautiful shrub roses or any number of small perennials. Many vegetables also perform well in containers and offer those without in ground garden space an opportunity to grow their own fruits, herbs or vegetables.
Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, this is a simple way to create a garden in an area where you cannot or do not wish to plant in the ground.
There are links below to products I recommend from companies I have a referral relationship with. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Container gardening enables you to easily vary your color scheme to match your outdoor decor or the season.
As each plant finishes flowering, you can remove the faded blooms or simply replace it with another plant.
Whether you choose to harmonize or contrast your colors, make sure there is variety in the height of each plant.
Ideally you want a tall plant in the center, a draping plant around the edges and a plant that is about half the height of the taller plant in between the other two. People refer to these as the thriller (tall center plant), filler (center plant) and spiller (draping plant).
Think also of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leafed plants. Be sure to choose plants with different leaf textures or even a variegated plant for variety.
Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have plants of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.
Experiment with creative containers after all there are no right or wrong answers here.
You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make something really modern with timber or tiles. This is a good way to re-use or re-cycle something that you already own.
Do not worry too much about how ornamental the containers are. Once the plants grow, most of the containers are going to be hidden.
If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful. Be sure to consider flea markets, garage sales and second hand stores when you are looking for containers.
You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores or be prepared to water frequently which is my choice as I do not want the chemicals around my plants.
Cheaper plastic pots can be painted on the outside with water-based paints.
When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or timber floors rotting. Just remember not to let the saucers hold water so you do need to lift the pots and empty them after it rains or after you water.
Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers.
This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants.
There are special potting mixes made for containers that help hold water in the soil.
If you are like me and prefer to make up your own soil mixture, you can get additives to put into it that help the soil hold moisture.
Containers dry out quickly during the hot summers so anything you can do to help the soil hold more moisture really helps your plants to thrive.
If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot filled with colorful plants on each step is sure to delight your visitors.
Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation.
There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, because they will not do well. Some plants have really large roots, so they are not suited to growing in containers.
If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side is a lot more visually appealing than two similar plants placed on each side.
Unless they are spectacular, similar plants placed like this can look boring. Group the pots in odd numbers, and vary the height and type.
To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three to five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also work to tie the group together.
With a creative mind and some determination, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
Questions? Leave them in the comments below!
The world is changing – everyday it seems there is a new report of how unsafe or contaminated our food or medicine is – and frankly this new trend is downright scary.
I’m not surprised though. I saw this coming years ago as the need for more and more food from large commercial farms was becoming evident. I never thought it would get this bad, but I knew – for my own safety and that of my friends and family – I had to do something.
What I chose to do was grow my own food and start an herbal medicine garden. Now you may be wondering what food has to do with medicinal herbs – nothing really – except eating healthy organic food full of nutrients helps keep the body in tip top shape thus potentially minimizing the need for medicine.
There are links to products below that I recommend from companies I have a referral relationship with. If you click on a link and buy an item from that link, I get a small percentage of the money.
Understanding how to use the herbs I was growing has taken years of study – and believe me there are no shortcuts – not if you want to maximize the safety aspects of using herbal medicine.
I’ve read old receipt books from the 1800’s. I’ve read modern natural medicine books. I completed a course in Basic Herbology Systematic Approach and have my training certificate. Of course I have spent time studying the properties and folklore of plants.
I have learned how to distill essential oils, use hydrosols, make salves and tinctures. I have learned how to preserve herbs in a number of ways.
Another thing I learned was that simply growing the herbs or food was not enough. The health of the soil they are grown in is so important. Plants take up nutrients – and poisons – from the soil they are grown in, so it is important to choose uncontaminated soil – have a soil test if in doubt. Once you know your soil is safe, top dress it with finished compost and organic kelp. You see kelp supplies every nutrient a plant could need – thus by adding it to your soil you are making sure the plants have what they need readily available.
Using only finished compost around your plants helps prevent disease. Once compost has heated up to the appropriate temperature and cured, it is safe to use. There is no point in getting in a hurry and spreading it too soon as this could introduce contaminates into your soil or even harm your plants. If your own compost is not ready – and you need some – I suggest going to your local nursery to purchase bags of organic compost.
Once you have weed-free, amended soil, you are ready to plant. Unless you can positively identify the herbs you plan to grow it is best to go to a local herb shop or nursery where the plants are labeled with their botanical name. Select plants that are healthy. Even though it is often possible to salvage sad looking plants that were improperly cared for, why start off that way? Unless it is a rare find – like goldenseal or ginseng – pass it up. Speaking of ginseng, there are some herbs it is essential not to dig from the wild and to keep records on where you got it should questions come up later on.
Learning botanical names is going to save you a lot of grief later on – and let’s face it, if you are going to use the plants medicinally you need to make sure you are using the right plants. Remember that the active components in modern medicine were originally derived from natural plant sources. It is also important to understand the possible side effects of natural medicine – and if you are taking prescription medicine, do talk with your doctor before taking herbal medicine since not all medicines mix well.
Some good medicinal herbs to start with are lavender (Lavandula officinalis), aloe vera (Aloe spp.), sage (Salvia officinalis), peppermint (Mentha piperita), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), chamomile (Anthemis nobilis or Matricaria chamomilla) and feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium).
Be aware that people with hayfever often have issues with chamomile. Feverfew readily self-seeds and will spread throughout your garden. Aloe vera is best grown in a pot so you can bring it indoors during the winter months. Peppermint is another invasive plant, but wonderful for making tea. Grow peppermint in a container to control its spread.
This is not a complete list of the herbs you can choose for growing in your own medicinal herb garden – it is simply some of the easiest herbs to start with. When selecting which herbs you wish to grow, consider first what you will use them for. It is not a crime to grow as many herbs as possible – I certainly do since I have no way of knowing what medicinal needs I may have in the future. Many herbs lend themselves well to growing indoors as well, so if you do not have outdoor space, do not despair!
Am I glad I started a medicinal herb garden? You bet I am! There is real satisfaction in knowing how the food and medicine I put into or on my body was grown. I have no fear of contamination because I know every plant is properly grown and washed before it is used. I know exactly which plants I mix together and what their properties and side effects are.
Does herbal medicine really work? Yes, it does, but it is not a miracle overnight cure like modern medicine. Sometimes I still end up at the Doctor’s office and sometimes I get sick enough – such as when I get a severe sinus infection – that I must use modern medicine, but I avoid this scenario whenever possible.
Renaissance Homesteader and Proclaimed Plant Geek, Sheri Ann Richerson can tell you everything there is to know about organic gardening, being self-sufficient and raising tropical plants from seed in a temperate environment.
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