Why You Should Grow An Herb Garden

By Palti Shipard

Herbs are loved by the gardeners who grow them due to their tastes, the scents that they produce and many other qualities that only herbs have. There are reasons herbs are have been employed in cooking, as medicines, and for spiritual purposes in every culture. They are not difficult to grow, they just need a little attention.

There's a difference between culinary spices and herbs. The biggest difference between an herb and a spice is where it is from on a plant. Herbs are the leafy green part of the plant, spices are the other portion like roots, barks, fruits and seeds. Herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than eaten as food.

The debate between what is an herb and what's a spice is continuing. Some people say that there isn't any difference. Some culinary herbs are shrubs, one example is rosemary, some herbs are trees. Botanical herbs, by definition cannot be woody plants. Some plants are used as both a spice and a herb, examples of this are dill seed and dill weed or coriander seeds and coriander leaves.

It is easy to grow a garden for the kitchen by planting herbs in pots, with the added benefit that you can take them inside during the winter. There are many herbs that will thrive in pots, some do much better than others. Some are better to grow in a container because they are going to take over the entire garden if you let them grow openly.

Why mess around going to the supermarket when you may have fresh herbs growing out your back door. Herbs are best when picked and used right then. There is no way you can buy an herb in the supermarket that will ever be this fresh.

Some herbs have medicinal value, they contain phytochemicals that have effects on the body. Throughout history they have been used to treat diseases. Many plants are being scientifically studied to find if the benefits claimed for these plants are valid.

Some herbs can serve as a pest control. Examples are mint, spearmint, peppermint, and pennyroyal. Planting these herbs can help keep bugs away like flies, mice, ants, flees and ticks. Unlike pesticides, these plants are not thought to be harmful to children or pets.

Basil is one of my favorite plants to grow, it grows just about anywhere, it can be grown on the kitchen windowsill all year round. Fresh basil is always best, it can be used in many dishes and makes a great winter tea. When you cook with basil, add it as the last ingredient because it loses nutrient value quickly when heated. In Hinduism a form of Basil called Tulsi is worshiped as a goddess for its medicinal value.

Parsley is very easy to grow as long as you water it well in really hot weather. It's a great plant to start your herb garden with, it is nutritious and great in Italian dishes and casseroles, sauces, scrambled eggs and as a garnish. It is frost tolerant and thrives in hot summers and wet winters. Grow your parsley in full sun or part shade in fertile, free draining soils. You can harvest parsley at any time during the year.

No garden should be without garlic, it is really easy to grow and has many uses. Garlic is easy to store for later use by freezing or preserving. Be careful to not over water your garlic, particularly in cooler weather. The ground should have good drainage and in dry and hot weather it should have some shade. Garlic is sensitive to over fertilizing.

Sage is great in salads. The majority of the flavor comes from its new shoots, it is suggested to not let sage get too woody by keeping the plant trim. When you trim the plants new shoots it will be encouraged to grow. It is best to harvest sage after it blooms.

Lavender, lemon verbena can be grown to make a potpourri. Mint, lemon verbena, chamomile, bergamot, hibiscus sabdariffa can be used used for tea. - 29857

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