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.
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!
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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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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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