growing herbs

Starting growing herbs can be very physically taxing and time-consuming. You might even wonder why you’d want to go through all the trouble and hard work herbal gardening entails when , you can just buy the spices you want from the commercial stores. Really, why choose to do gardening when you can save yourself from all the dirt and perspiration you will get covered in ? The truth is that growing herbs are rewarding. In fact, having an herbal garden can do wonders for your life and your health. It’s also refreshing and fun! There’s much more to it than just the anticipated time and hard work you need to devote to it.

Initially, an herbal garden requires some investment: time, effort, money, and a little space in your backyard. This may seem like a lot initially, but it really isn’t as bad as you are probably thinking, especially if compared to the results it will give you in the future. The beauty alone can balance the work, herbs can really beautify your surroundings. Just imagine all the refreshing colors and aromatic blend – what a delight to your senses! Having a scenic garden to walk out into definitely revitalizes a person . Tending your garden will never be considered a difficult task when you really consider the benefits you’re gaining.

On top of being beautiful, a herbal garden helps you keep a well-exercised body. All that planting, digging, bending to weed and tend the garden, and even just walking around, work together to help your body benefit. It is an excellent exercise which helps you maintain a fit and trim body while ensuring healthy-looking and radiant skin.

Gardening is also a great way to take a break from stress. Being out in nature has a truly relaxing effect on the mind. Everyday life is full of stressors that you cannot avoid, a big part of it is finding a way to deal with that stress. Gardening is a nice and natural way to release your pent-up stress; the wonderful blend of colors and scents would surely help any person to relieve their stress.

Have I already mentioned that with growing herbs, fresh herbs are always available to you on top of the other benefits? It definitely saves you a lot of time hunting for spices in stores, herbs will be freely available in your garden. Hard to find spices in stores will be easily found if you choose to grow them. Spices in the market can also be expensive, growing your own saves you a considerable amount of money. The only time you would spend money is on your initial investment of buying seeds, seedlings, and the tools and equipment you need for gardening. Purchasing pesticides and insecticides wouldn’t be a problem because herbs are best grown organically and it would definitely give our environment a whole lot of goodness without these chemicals sprayed around. On top of this, you don’t have to buy new tools every year, so this is an initial expense only.

Using spices from your garden also would most certainly add to the delicious flavor and nutritional value of every meal you prepare. These are ingredients that can be grown which are a treat to any recipe. Spices bring magic to every dish because of the aroma and the exotic and unique taste it gives. What’s more? Spices are a good source of vitamins and minerals – more healthy benefit for your body! These benefits even include a good deal of prevention in terms of and different illnesses and diseases. Using your herb garden to spice up your meals is another great advantage of having a herb garden, and another way of saving you money.

The final benefit we’re going to discuss is social. You can make a lot of new friends, and strengthen your bond with family, neighbors, and acquaintances, by sharing your harvests from your herb garden. If you plan your garden well, there will be enough for you and then some. So go on, fill your basket with your spices and offer them as a surprise to your neighbors and friends. You will see for yourself the delight and gratitude this brings from all, it can be quite fun. You can also give special personalized gifts (around the holidays or special occasions) by creatively putting different dried herbs in small bottles or jars as a display or adornment for their homes. Cultivate relationships with other people as you would cultivate your garden, let them feel that you care for them with these simple gifts. It would be an especially great pleasure on their part to learn that you, yourself, have grown these spices. It’s sharing a part of yourself, you have put a lot of labor in for those spices that you are now able to share.

Hopefully by now you’re seeing for yourself what a great idea a herb garden is. But how do you start one? For starters, let us provide you with a list of commonly used spices that you could initially plant to your garden.

 

Ginger

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Ginger is a herbal plant whose rhizomes can be used as a spice or a medicine. Ginger can be in different forms: raw/fresh roots, powdered, dried, pickled, liquid (e.g. ginger ale, ginger tea), oil, or even preserved in a sugar syrup or crystallized into candy. Ginger can also be an effective food preservative. This spice is usually used in Asian, Indian, and Oriental recipes because of its warm and pungent flavor and distinctive aroma. In the West, dried ginger roots are often used in breads, biscuits, jams, and puddings.

Ginger is also a very effective medicinal plant. It has been known to help relieve digestive problems like diarrhea, indigestion, gastric pains, and stomach cramps by helping increase the production levels of fluids which aid in digestion. It helps with other issues of the body as well. Nausea, vomiting, motion and morning sicknesses can also be cured by ginger roots. It even has some chemical properties which help relieve inflammations and pains related to rheumatism, arthritis, soreness, and cramping of muscles and menstrual cramps. The final medical use of ginger roots is for respiratory problems like bronchitis, coughs, chest pains, and asthma. Because of its therapeutic effects, it can help in cleansing the body and kidneys of toxins and aids in blood circulation. Ginger warms the body, increasing perspiration to help cure fever while the juice squeezed from fresh ginger roots can also treat minor burns. All of these uses from one herb make it a valuable addition to any garden.

How to grow:

  1. Ginger is a tropical plant, so prepare a suitable spot in your herbal garden. This should be an area with filtered sunlight and rich, moist and well-drained soil. You can choose to plant them in pots/containers that can drain water well or just plant them directly to the ground. Prepare the soil by mixing compost or organic materials.
  2. Choose some pieces of fresh and plump rhizomes/tubers. Before planting, soak the rhizomes overnight.
  3. In the pot, plant the soaked tubers below the soil’s surface. If in the ground, plant the tubers below the surface area and make sure to leave even spaces between them.
  4. Water the freshly planted rhizomes lightly and when buds appear, you can water it more heavily (2-3 times a week) to keep the moisture level.
  • After about 8-10 months, your ginger is ready for harvesting!

 

Saffron

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As the most expensive spice in the world, it would be wiser to plant saffron crocus yourself if you plan to use it in your cooking. Its actually expensive because it takes more than 70,000 blossoms to produce only a pound of saffron threads! These blossoms are beautiful in appearance. They are purple, and best contrasted in thin and grass-like foliage. The most important part of this plant is the red stigmas which can be seen in the center of the flower. These three stigmas are plucked and dried, and it is these which finally become the valued spice.

As a spice, saffron is used for smell extraction, flavor enhancement, and food coloring for different cuisines (and even for sweet dishes), as well as medicine. The medicinal uses of saffron can’t be discounted because this spice is widely known for its numerous health benefits. When applied topically it can cure, or aid in the treatment of, kidney problems, arthritis, insomnia, digestion problems, gas, and acidity problems, fever, eye problems (like cataracts), headache, asthma, painful menstruation, cough and colds, baldness, and dry skin. In addition to this it actually has anti-cancer properties in it. This is all aside from bringing out flavor in regular meals, and helping to color some food. Aside from these culinary and medicinal benefits, saffron can be a good dye for clothes with its vibrant golden-yellow color. These numerous benefits, on top of saving you money, make it a great choice for your garden.

How to grow:

It is best to plant the saffron bulbs/corms in December to January if located in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, June is the recommended planting time.

  1. Choose a suitable spot in your garden, one with full sunlight.
  2. Prepare the soil. It must be a rich soil, mixed with composite or other organic materials like fallen leaves. The soil must be loose, rich, and well-drained so it would be advisable to prepare a raised bed.
  3. Plant the saffron crocus corms 4-5 cm. deep and sufficiently spaced apart to maximize production, saffron crocus multiplies rapidly when grown successfully.
  4. Saffron crocus should be kept dry during summer because it remains dormant during this time. During the fall, keep the soil from drying up by watering them from time to time.
  5. When the blossoms are at its peak number, you can now harvest them.

  

Garlic

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 With its aroma and unique flavor, garlic is one of the most commonly used spices in the world. It can be used in different recipes, be it baked, sautéed, roasted, or added to different preparations like marinades, soups, and others. Its use in the culinary arts is limitless!

As a medicinal plant, garlic is an all-natural antibiotic rich in antioxidants – it strengthen our body’s immune system against cancer, helps prevent cold and various heart diseases, helps control blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, prevents atherosclerosis, and can reduce Candida yeast infections.

How to grow:

In areas with cold weather, garlic cloves should be planted during the fall. For other areas, its best to plant the cloves during months of September to November, or during the months where days are at their shortest.

  1. Choose an area in your garden where there is a direct stream of sunlight.
  2. Prepare the soil. The soil must be well-drained, and contain a mixture of organic matters like manure.
  3. Garlic is grown from its cloves so you better choose garlic bulbs with large cloves. Separate the cloves from the bulb and individually plant them 1 ½ in. deep and 6-8 in. apart.
  4. An inch of water is needed by the plants (to be deposited once a week). Stop watering when the leaves start to turn yellow, this is done so that the bulbs will firm up.
  5. When the plant’s tops are already ripe and falling over, your garlic is ready to harvest.

 

Sage

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Sage is a woody shrub with a bluish to purplish flower and grayish-green leaves. Sage is a perennial plant, and is perfect as a landscape ornament or an addition to your herbal garden because of its beautiful flowers. With its strong aroma and woody flavor, the plant’s leaves are often used as seasoning for pork, poultry, and other types of meat. As a medicinal plant, sage can aid in digestion, is rich in calcium, Vitamin A and potassium, and has antiseptic properties to treat minor cuts, can help regulate menstrual problems, and can help cure mouth infections (like sore throats and bad breath).

How to grow:

Sage thrives in different climates. But in places with extreme winter, it’s best to propagate your plant indoors, applying heavy mulch to protect the plant from the cold. In areas with too much wet climate, it is better plant the sage in a raised bed to ensure a well-drained soil.

  1. Choose a spot in your herbal garden with full sunlight exposure. Sage loves sunlight but dislikes extreme heat.
  2. Sage isn’t specific in the type of soil to be used, but it definitely doesn’t thrive in soggy or always moist soil. Keep this in mind when selecting a soil type, you will need one which is well-drained; consider mixing compost with the soil for better draining.
  3. Growing sage can either start from seeds or cuttings.

Seeds – Sow the seeds 1/4 in. deep from the soil surface, 8-10 in. apart, and 18-   24 in. apart in rows.

Cuttings – Take a cutting from the plant’s new growth, plant in a pot with a good   draining soil, and leave in a warm dry place. After more than 3 weeks, when the roots have already grown, you can transfer the plant outside.

  1. Supply enough water to the small sage plants, but afterwards, water the plants around 2 times a week or whenever you see that the soil is dry.
  2. It would be best to harvest before the plant starts to flower.

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Dill

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Dill is best known to be used in pickling and its leaves can also be used in different salad, soup, dips, and fish recipes. The seeds can enhance the flavor of breads and pastries, stews, vegetable dishes, and even roasts. The seeds and flower head can be made as oil or vinegar. Dill can also aid in the treatment of digestion problems like gas, colic, and indigestion.

How to grow:

  1. Choose an area in your garden which receives sufficient sunlight yet at the same time is protected from strong winds. Dill plants tend to grow in tall but hollow stalks.
  2. Prepare the soil. It must be rich in organic matter and should be well-drained.
  3. Sow the seeds either on March or April, or even as early as just before the last frost occurs. Plant the seed ¼ in. from the soil surface. Sow the seeds relatively close to each other so that the plants can support one another against strong winds.
  4. Water the plants to keep it moderately moist.Harvesting can be done during the summer or fall.

 

Parsley

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Parsley is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, and American culinary. It has a bright green, hairless texture, and contains the characteristics of herbaceous plants that only grows in a certain temperate climate. It is also an annual herb that grows in tropical and subtropical areas. Moist, well drained soil and a place of direct sunlight are the best fit for the parsley to grow. Parsley usually grows from seed and is best grown with a temperature of 22-30 °C. The leaf, seed, and roots of this herbal plant can be used as a medicine. Oil that can be extracted from the seed of this herbal plant is use to make soaps, cosmetics, and even perfume. The most common use of this plant, as mentioned earlier, is in its use for food garnish, condiments, and flavoring.

How to grow:

Growing parsley is a bit challenging compare to other herb plants but it is worth a try. Parsley requires a germination period of about 3-4 weeks. Room temperature is best for planting the parsley because it promotes germination.

  1. Sow a number of seeds in a 4 inch If you plan to transfer it outside wait for about to 6-8 weeks before doing so.
  2. Have a good place for planting parsley. It requires 6 hours of great sun light a day, and tolerates it with enough shade, but too much sunlight won’t make any better.
  3. Have a moist and well drained soil. If you plant it in a planter make sure that it has good draining holes.
  4. Parsley is a bit sensitive in soil requirement. It requires its soil to be made of a rotten organic material to have a best grown parsley plant.
  5. To harvest parsley, simply cut the sprigs. Leaves and stalks can be eaten when   harvested.

 

Rosemary

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“Sea dew”, more commonly referred to as Rosemary, is native to the Mediterranean, but because it is widely used in culinary and medical purposes, many parts of the world have begun to cultivate it. It is best suited for a warm and sunny climate. It is a shrub that can grow in length up to 6 ½ inches tall. Rosemary characteristics are bitter, possessing a distinct smell that is highly aromatic, particularly when combined with complimentary foods. Rosemary contains iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. Volatile oil can be extracted through the leaves and flowers of rosemary. Laboratory experiments have shown that rosemary contains antioxidants which can neutralize harmful elements in the body, particularly ones that might affect cell membranes and basically may cause cell death. During summer and spring is the time where the plant begins to flower.

How to grow:

  1. In propagating rosemary, cut and layer the seed because it takes time to germinate it.
  2. During late spring or autumn, cut a long 10 cm from the bush of rosemary.
  3. In a small pot, filled with two third coarse of sand and one third pit moss, put the cut bush of rosemary. Soiling that drain well will help the plant to get its required nutrients, even if planted outside. Tips to have a more fragrant rosemary? Plant it in a soil rich in alkaline.
  4. Supply an adequate amount of water and keep it in enough sunlight until the roots begin to grow. Do not put too much water because this plant prefers a drier soil.
  5. Make sure that the soil contains enough lime in order for the plant to not take too much fertilizer.
  6. In a cool and dry lace, put the sprigs of the rosemary. Store in an airtight container after stripping the leaves from the stem.
  7. The bush will still be available for rosemary cultivation.

 Thym

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 The word “thyme” was originally derived from the Greek word which means “to fumigate”. This plant is native to the mountains of Spain, and other European countries near the Mediterranean. It has broad leaves and a weak odor. It contains numerous stems that are round and hard and approximately 4-8 inches in diameter. Its leaves contain a fragrant odor that can produce an essential oil which is how it helps in flavoring purposes (for culinary use). This plant begins to flower in the months of May to August. Well drained soil and tropical climate help the plant to grow healthy. It is a perennial plant which can be propagated by its seeds, roots, and stem cutting. Fresh and dried thyme are both utilized in culinary to add flavor and enhance fragrance. In medicinal purposes, oil that can be extracted in thyme contains 20-54% thymol.

How to grow:

Plant this herb in a dry soil with adequate sunlight. Bushes of thymes propagate itself, that’s why cultivation is not that difficult.

  1. When the flower begins to bloom, cut the top half.
  2. Dry the leaves through the use of direct sunlight.
  3. Strip the dried leaves from the stem and store in a dark place.

Oregano

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Oregano was derived from the Greek word Origanum vulgare which means “joy of the mountains”. This is because it literally grows in the mountains of Greece and some part of the Mediterranean counties. Oregano is a perennial plants that grows best in tropical areas. It is popular for its aroma and balsamic flavor, which is widely used in culinary and medicinal purposes. In Egypt, oregano is usually used as a cure for colds, asthma, sore throat, coughs, and flu. It was first cultivated in the Philippines and some places in Asia. With the length of about 20-80 cm, it has a heart shape leaves that are 3-8cm in long.

Oregano is a good source of calcium, iron, and manganese, as well as Vitamin A, C, and K depending on how one consumes it. There is some confusion when it comes to the oregano’s relationship with marjoram, because they are most likely alike, but when closely examined, the flavor is really different. This is because oregano is much sweeter compare to marjoram and its aroma is more pungent.

How to grow:

  1. Plant oregano with a pH between 6.5 and 0 in well drained soil. No need for fertilizing because most herbs do not require it, especially if not necessarily needed.
  2. Oregano spread easily throughout the season, especially during spring. In late spring, cut the bushes of it for about 1/3 of its size to have more chance of having newly grown bushes.
  3. If winter falls, take oregano that is planted in containers indoors, covering it to protect it.
  4. Trim the dead leaves and stems in order to give the growing ones a chance.

Mint

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The word mint is derived from the Greek word “mintha”. This is not a distinct herbal plant and only has approximately 13-18 known varieties of species. It is also a perennial plant that only grows annually. Its leaves are oblong in shape and are arranged in opposite pairings. It is best grown in directions that allow for some sunlight and can tolerate any climate conditions. Though it can tolerate direct sunlight, it generally prefers moist and cool areas.

Mint is a fast growing herbal plant, largely due to the fact that having only one mint planted in you backyard is usually enough for home use purposes. Mint, though it can be propagated by seeds, seems to be unreliable because they are highly variable in appearance, which may cause you to harvest a wrong one. Fresh or dried leaves of mint are used in the culinary arts. Its characteristics give an additional compliment for food, especially because of its unique characteristic of having a cool after taste. Not only is it great for culinary purposes, but it also provides help in medicinal practices. It provides tea which really helps our body heal from sickness.

How to grow:

  1. The months of February and June are the best time to grow this herbal plant. Germination takes a long time when planted outside, that’s why it is advisable to plant it inside.
  2. With a container, with healthy soil and a good draining hole, plant the seed about 5 cm deep. Cover it with composite and provide it with an adequate supply of water, keeping it moist but not too wet.
  3. When the plants complete the germination process, remove the cover.
  4. Place the container in partial shade, avoiding contact with direct heat of the sun.
  5. When it reaches the length of 5cm, transfer the plant outside where it can be exposed to warm temperatures.
  6. Have a 30cm interval for each plant, and remember to not place it in direct sunlight until the roots fully develop.
  7. Trim, if necessary, to have continuous mint bushes.

 

Cilantro

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Cilantro, or coriander, is an annually grown herb. Every part of this plant is edible. It is a very popular addition to any herbal garden.The leaves can be used in cooking, either dry or fresh. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. Interestingly cilantro and coriander are different in flavor, even though they come from the same plant. Growing this herb is not difficult because it is available any time of the month. Cilantro is relative to parsley as it has noticeably alike leaves. It is also known as Chinese or Mexican parsley as it originally comes from said places.

It grows to about 2 feet in height. The seeds are used as flavorings for some cases while the leaves are usually used for sandwiches, salads, or even salsas. Though available for planting at any time of the year, planting of it is sensitive because once planted, replanting is not an option. It requires a warm temperature for its germination process and it takes 2 weeks to complete the cycle.

Perfumes of ancient Greeks use the oil which is extracted form the cilantro. Romans use it to remove the smell of the rotten meat. Nowadays, this plant is being used continually in culinary arts for its fantastic flavor and for medicinal purposes (specifically its ability to heal some sicknesses). This herb contains an antioxidant and has a great ability to cleanse the body by removing the toxins that can be found in body tissue.

How to grow:

  1. Sow the soil about 1 cm deep and provide composite to cover it.
  2. Provide a 35cm interval between each seed.
  3. If planted in a container, have a depth of 15cm to help its roots develop well.
  4. Direct heat of sunlight is not advisable. 4 hours of it is enough for the growing stage.
  5. Adequate amount of water is necessary, but too much of it won’t help because its roots can’t stand in water. If it is planted in a container, make sure the pot has a good drainage hole.
  6. Have the soil sown every week to ensure enough nutrients are being absorbed, and make sure the soil is always in a moist condition.

 

Tarragon

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The term tarragon is derived from the Latin word “Dracunculus”, which means little dragon. Tarragon is a perennial herb that usually grows for about 2 feet in heights. It is usually best harvested during the month of August. For approximately 120-150 cm tall, this plant requires relatively little water supply. Its flavor is like a combination of aniseed that is sweet and tastes of vanilla all in one herb.

Store the dried leaves in an airtight container to prevent the loss of quality. Tarragon also produces oil. Tarragon is the main ingredient in making Béarnaise sauce. It is also used for poultry which perfectly enhances its flavor and can also be used in making wines and oils. Having a set of its dried leaves is better to be used in cooking compared to the fresh one. But when compared to its flavor, dishes that use the fresh one actually receive the compliment of having a stronger flavor. One good fact about this plant is that pests hate its smell which helps nearby plants be protected.

How to grow:

  1. Make sure that you carefully select a place that is best suited for planting this herb. The climate may be cool or warm and there must be an adequate supply of water and enough shade from the sun.
  2. Sandy type of soil is best for the growing of this plant. It cannot stand in water so make sure that the soil provides good drainage.
  3. Water it regularly, but when its winter time, just provide enough water but not too much.During winter, tarragon seems to die but it’s actually just dormant. All you need to do is to cover it until spring comes.
  4. The best time for harvesting the herb is during the summer. Collect the best leaves, and by that you may decide whether you want it to use as fresh or dry.

Onion

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Onion, or bulb onion, is one of the most essential and widely used herbs. Way back in Egypt, it took 2000 years to finally cultivate it as well as leek and garlic. Onion comes from different colors like red, yellow and white. As the onion varies in color, so do they vary in taste. Yellow onions provide a hot and pungent feeling to your eyes, which is the best known cause behind onions making your eyes watery. White onions are best used as pizza toppings because it provides a sweet taste among the three. And the red one creates a strong flavor when being cooked.

When onions are being chopped and heated they release a very good smell, especially when combined with garlic. They are also used (even uncooked) as toppings for pizza or salad mixes.

In chopping onions, our eyes become watery. This is because of the cell being broken that result in enzymes triggering amino acids to produce sulfenic acids and trigger the lachrymal gland (found in our eyes) which results in the production of tears.

Growing this can be done by seed as the fruit grows under the soil. It is easy to grow but unfortunately results in a short lived life.

How to grow:

  1. A windy place with a partial sunlight is best in growing this herb. It should also be planted in a muddy type of soil.
  2. Dig the soil and free the area of weeds or any objects that may affect the growing process.
  3. Provide a hole for each bulb and then cover it with soil. Harden it with your feet to make the soil harder, it will benefit the growing process.
  4. Make sure there is at least a 10 cm interval between each bulb, and allow 20-30 cm of space.
  5. Supply an adequate amount of water during spring, but the plant does not require it during autumn and winter.
  6. The best time to harvest it is during late spring.

 

Basil

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Basil is derived from the Greek word “basileus” which means “king”. Basil is native to India. It is an annual plant which is normally used in Italian cuisine and by Asian countries in their culinary purposes. Its leaves have a 3-11cm length and a 1-6cm width, ultimately reaching a height of 30-130cm. It has a white small flower.

Basil consists of different essential oils which can be found as a result of using basil’s different varieties. Basil is usually used when fresh. It is also the main ingredients in making pesto. It can be added to cocktail drinks. Direct encounter with heat when cooking will easily destroy the flavor. It must be stored in an airtight container to keep it fresh. Since too much heat will destroy its flavor, using a dry one only provides a weak flavor (like hay’s flavor).

Some research that has been done on basil has said that it contains flavonoids that protect cell structure of the human body. It also contains antioxidant and phytochemicals that help our body to avoid illness and disease. Essential oils are often made of basil extract which have been used as a resistance aid that is commonly found in an antibiotic drugs. It also exhibits great use in healing anti inflammatory problems. Basil also provides vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium, all of which are essential for our cardio vascular heath.

How to grow:

  1. If you want to plant seeds of basil indoors, put one to two seeds in each pot.
  2. Make sure that the container contains a good drainage hole, then provide good sunlight. Supply an adequate amount of water daily.
  3. When two leaves grow, it should be safe to decide to transfer it outdoors. When grown outdoors, make sure that the plant acquires 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
  4. Sow it to allow the soil provide a good air condition for its roots.
  5. Keep the soil moist and avoid watering its leaves and stems.
  6. When the flower begins to bloom, pinch it. This will help the plant to maintain a good flavor and will give more chances of having good leaves.
  7. Basil planted indoors will be available throughout the year, but when planted outdoors it is better to harvest it before winter because it cannot tolerate frost.

Marjoram

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Another perennial herb from the Mediterranean is marjoram. It is often mistaken as oregano because they belong in the same herb family. As an herb, it is also used in the usual popular ways, for flavor, health, and beauty purposes. It has a mild spice and a bittersweet flavor. Marjoram grows to about 30-70cm. Its light green oval shape leaves contains a sweet flavor that is good for culinary. Its flower usually blooms during summer and comes in three colors, white, pink, and purple.

Marjoram is not only being cultivated for culinary uses but also for utilization in health and beauty purposes. Essential oils which contain marjoram extract are being used in aroma therapy. It is known for giving a particularly soothing effect, especially when applied directly to the body. It is also used in ‘love potions’. It is often used in treating mood swings of women, like menstrual periods or even symptoms of menopause. It is only helpful in the remedy of bronchitis and sinusitis.

Marjoram cannot hold cold temperature so it is best cultivated in warm places. It requires a long germination process. The best month to sow the plant is either April or May. It also grows in a sandy type of soil. When the plant begins to flower, the tops should be cut and are able to be dried. It can propagate through seed, stem cutting, or even by roots division.

How to grow:

  1. Provide a soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. You may put composite to have a good harvest.
  2. Make sure that there’s good drainage, the plant is provided with adequate water and either full or partial sunlight.
  3. Germination process takes approximately 10-14 days. The plant can be harvested in approximately 3 and ½ months.
  4. Harvest the leaves when grown to 6cm. You should do it before the plant start to flower, because if this happens and you haven’t harvested the leaves, the flavor will be bitter. But you may still collect the seeds which can be planted for the next spring.

 

Fennel

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Fennel comes from the family of apiaceae with a genus and species of foeniculum vulgare. It is a perennial herb that grows to about 2.5 meters in height. It has feathery leaves with 40cm long and 0.5 mm wide. Its flower is yellow and usually blooms in the month of July and August. Its seed is oval and brown in shape.

It provides a fragrant odor that is helpful for enhancing one’s appetite. You may prefer to use ground seeds and or raw or cooked stalks. It is used commonly in making sausages and absinthe.

Recent research has found that fennel has the ability to remove phlegm and destroy bacteria that negatively affects our body. Many enchanting features are being provided with this amazing herbal plant. It can treat bronchitis, coughs, and even digestion problems. Both the roots and the fruits are generally used as medicine. Some therapeutic uses of fennel include its uses as a mouthwash for individuals who have gum disease and sore throats.

How to grow:

  1. Germination process of fennel takes 1-2 weeks.
  2. Plant it in a place where there is direct sunlight.
  3. Prepare a loose and type of soil with adequate drainage. You may add composite if you prefer.
  4. Cover the seeds until new leaves begin to grow.
  5. Have an interval of 10 inches between each seed.
  6. Growing it may be similar to celery because it grows in stalks, not underground, so once it has started to develop its bulb, make the soil a hill-like image.
  7. If you want to, you can harvest bulb water it regularly, but if you want only the seed it is not necessary because a dry soil will help to propagate more seeds.
  8. It took 2 ½ to 3 months to be ready for harvesting.

 

Celery

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Celery is native to Greece, but the name itself derives its name from the French word “celeri”, it was only later that it was spelled as celery. It was first used by the Romans and Greeks for medicinal purposes, they believed it was a holy plant. In ancient times, without a prior knowledge of using it in cooking, they used it as medicine for various illnesses and diseases like flu, coughs, digestion problems, and many others. Nowadays, it is primarily used for its benefits in cooking.

Celery only has usable stalks and leaves. Its leaves are dark green with 3-6 cm long and a wide of 2-4cm. Its grey-white flower is 2-3 mm in diameter. It has a great flavor and aroma which can enhance the taste and smell of your stew, soups, and even sauces. The growing season of celery begins in the month of September and the blooming season happens from July to November.

Though low in calorie content, celery still supports our health through its ability to treat illnesses and diseases. Calcium, potassium, folic acid, phosphorous, dietary fibers, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins are just a few of the compounds that can be found in this plant.

How to grow:

  1. Plant the celery in a place where there’s direct sunlight. Ideally the temperature should be at least 70° to 75°F during the day, and 60°F at night.
  2. Set the plant up with an adequate drainage system, plentiful supply of water, and good air circulation. These conditions are a must if you want your celery growth to be successful.
  3. Have an interval of 6-8 inches between seeds and 2-3 feet row distances.
  4. Give at least an inch of water per week.
  5. In harvesting, cut it, but be careful not to reach the soil line.

Bay leaf

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Bay leaf is derived from the Latin word “lauraceae” which means praise and nobilis. This plant is a tree that can grow tall, as high as 30 feet. It has a yellow or green flower. Its leaves are dark green and funnel shaped, usually measuring at about 3-4 inches long. It has a pungent and bitter taste. It is usually used in a dried form as it is in this form that it best enhances the flavor of stews, soups, meat, and vegetables. Unlike any other herbs, the dried leaves of it are actually removed from the dish before serving because it might be poisonous if it stays too long on your dish. In the Filipino culture, it is best used in their famous adobo. While in Indian and Pakistan cuisine, they use it as an accompaniment to their rice, in dishes like biryani and garam masala.

Having a strong aroma helps bay leaf be useful in killing insects. Mountain laurel and cherry laurel are types of laurel that are poisonous, so be sure that you have adequate knowledge of these varieties before using it in cooking. Though it has a bad reputation because of the potentially poisonous aspect in some varieties, it still has huge benefits in the medical community. This great herb contains copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and magnesium, all of which are substances that our body needs. It also contains an essential oil and has a stimulant to increase appetite.

How to grow:

  1. Direct sunlight is needed by this plant.
  2. This plant is not fussy. It can thrive in any climate. Fertilizing it is not necessary either, although if you prefer using it, you may.
  3. Summer time is good for its propagation, cut the stem for about 4 to 5 inches, and then plant again.
  4. It doesn’t require too much care; all you need to provide is a healthy soil and good sunlight with a good drainage system for its water.
  5. Harvest it in a couple of years, fresh leaves should be dried because it has a bitter flavor compare to the dried ones.

 

Allspice

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With a total height of 10-18 meters, allspice is a shrub. It is called allspice because it shares similarity of taste with four different spices; cloves, juniper berries, and pepper. It grows best in a tropical and sub tropical climate. Historically, it is said that Christopher Columbus was the first to introduce allspice to Mediterranean and European cuisine. He was said to bein search of a different spice when he found allspice. Nowadays it plays a big role in Caribbean cuisine. This can also be made as a tea by drying the leaves and berries. The taste of allspice and cloves are very much alike, that’s why it can act as an alternative in some dishes. Though this plant requires patience before getting the benefits, it is worth the wait.

In the months of June, July, and August, its flowers begin to bloom and will provide you berries. When berries ripen, it will lose its aroma. This means that berries should be harvested before the aroma is gone, this is when it is most ripe.

It contains a stimulant that helps our body in physical and mental functions. It also helps our body to solve digestion problems. Though its oil has less of a role in aromatherapy, it can still provide (or can help) in other ways, including some respiratory problems.

How to grow:

  1. It is recommended that you grow it in an area where the temperature remains at a constant of approximately 26 degree Celsius.
  2. It doesn’t require direct sun light so just provide a place with partial shade.
  3. Loose soil and good drainage should be considered a must, this is to help the roots acquire good air circulation.
  4. Keep up an adequate supply of water available, and do not let it have a dry soil for any extended period of time as it will negatively effect the growing process.
  5. It is best to plant it between spring and summer time. Then when the tree is fully grown, at about 40 feet in height, you can harvest its berries.
  6. Propagation is primarily done by its seeds.

 

Catnip

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Catnip is a perennial plant that belongs to the family laicize, with the species of genus Napata. It is native to Europe and Southwestern to Central Asian. The reason why it is called catnip is that its smell has always attracted cats, and for that reason, people derived the name fromthe word Catania, a Latin word meaning cats. The odor is most likely enjoyed by cats because it smells like pheromones of an opposite sex cat. In relation to this, rats hate it because it tends to represent the smell of cats. I think we all know that cats and rats are mortal enemies. For this reason, catnip can actually help you to protect your plants from rats and other pests.

It can grow to about 2 feet with grey greenish foliage. It has a white to pale purple flower that grows in a variety of shapes (from triangular to oval). It also has a mint odor in its leaves and stems. Each reddish brown flower produces 4 seeds. The leaves are triangular and sometimes come in heart-shapes. Its roots grow horizontally and it has a hairy stem.

Catnip has historically been used as a home remedy for pregnant women and people with fevers and pneumonia. It can cause you to perspire a lot when you make it as a tea, this is because your body heat increases in response to the temperature of the drink. That’s why it has been used to treat people with fever.

How to grow catnip:

  1. During spring season, catnip propagation is most effective.
  2. Provide a moist soil with an adequate amount of sunlight in an area with good airflow.
  3. Have an interval of 12 to 15 inches between the seeds.
  4. If growing indoors, provide at least 6 hours of daily sunlight. Pinch each flower to acquire more leaves.
  5. Let the leaves reach 8 inches in size before harvesting.
  6. Dry the leaves during summer.

You can also propagate them by regularly cutting their stems.

 

Anise

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Anise is an annual plant that can grow as high as 1 meter or more. It comes from the family of apiaceae, with a genus species of pimpernels animus. Its leaves are feathery and its seeds are brown that provide an aromatic odor. The parts being used in this plant are the fruits and seeds that are being dried. It is native in Egypt and Mediterranean. Though it is a slow growing plant, it is still distinguished by its unique and strong flavor.

Anise has a strong taste of licorice that has been used in baking cakes during ancient times. It can also be used in beverages, especially in liquid cough medicines. Using its seeds also enhances the flavor of fruits, vegetables, and meat in cooking. It goes along with the flavor of cinnamon and bay leaves if combined. The essential oil produced by this plant can be an alternative for those that are commercially used.

Oil of anise has a compound used in the cleaning of teeth. The tea should be brewed first before drinking. It can also be used as a eucalyptus which is a good help in respiratory problems. It can also increase your appetite stimulant. It can also be added in manufacturing soaps, perfumes, and any cosmetic products, but also to improve aroma.

How to grow:

  1. Its flowering period is in the months of July to August.
  2. It requires full sunlight with an adequate supply of water.
  3. Sow the seed in a moist type of soil. Measurement should be ½ inch apart with rows of 2.5 to 3 feet.
  4. TIPS: To have a fast germination process, plant it near coriander, because research has shown that coriander helps in the formation process of anise seeds.
  5. You may add fertilizer if you think that the soil cannot sustain enough nutrients for the plant.
  6. Cut the head of the flower that is already brown before it falls.
  7. Dry it in direct sunlight and store it in an airtight container once you fully achieve its dryness and crispiness.

 

Ginkgo Biloba

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Over 270 years back, ginkgo biloba was recognized as a living fossil. It is native from China and widely used in various cooking and treatments. It can reach the height of 20 to 35 meters. It is triangular in shape and has a strong root that can fight against damage from snow and wind. The leaves turn to bright yellow during autumn season. It is best grown in a place where there is a good water and adequate drainage. As the tree ages, it will become broader. Leaves are usually unlobed and short. And this tree is the national tree of China.

Ginkgo produced a nut that is used in making congee. Taking a large amount of it may cause poisoning because it contains a neurotoxin called 4′-O-methylpyridoxine (MPN), which is not being destroyed when heated. But aside from this, ginkgo biloba is well known for its ability in helping one with memory enhancement. But the effect of this on individuals who have blood circulation problems is not recommended because taking ginkgo biloba can trigger more side effects in those with this condition.

Chemicals found in this plant are flavonoids and terpenoids, which are believed to have antioxidant properties that are good for humans’ body. Having this planted in our backyard will benefit us with shade(and not only us humans but also animals can be benefited too).

How to grow:

  1. Growing this plant with a seed is a good way of propagation. Start it in the month of January when the embryo starts to develop.
  2. When the seeds turn to leaves and the plant begins developing its roots, water it regularly.
  3. Provide with full sunlight and keep them away from weeds that compete for nutrients.
  4. Keep the soil moist.
  5. Maintain its environment until the roots are firmly attached in the soil.

 

Lovage

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Lovage is a perennial herb that belongs to the family of apiaceae. Its name is derived from the word “love” because during ancient time it was the main ingredients in love potions. Its leaves are dark green, with a greenish yellow flower. It grows to approximately 1.8-2.5 meters. This herb has both culinary and medical purposes. It helps our body with respiratory and digestive problems. It is abundant in Southern Europe and Western Asia. It is propagated by seeds. Its leaves can be used freshly in making salads, while its seeds can be use as spice (like fennel). The flower usually blooms during spring time. It has a warming and therapeutic effect on human bodies.

It normally grows in a place where there is an adequate amount of sunlight. The aromatic and stimulant functions of this plant can be found in its roots and seeds. The seed’s purposes are more powerful than its roots. It is widely spread in Great Britain but is native to the Mediterranean’s mountain.

How to grow:

  1. Provide a lot of space for growing this plant, it will ultimately grow to 6 feet.
  2. You can provide any type of soil, including sands, but make sure that there is good sunlight.
  3. If you decide to have it planted first in the container, have at least 4 seeds planted per container. Supply enough water in the first two weeks and you will be fine. You may provide fertilizer if you wish.
  4. When the roots can seem to be carrying enough nutrients, you may now transfer it outdoors.
  5. During the first year it will not be seen growing. When it does begin growing, it will grow to be 2 feet in height, this growth will be fast and you can now harvest it.
  6. During the autumn season, you may cut the stem, leaving some marks to have good grown stems in the coming season.

 

Borage

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It is an annual plant that is also native to the Mediterranean. The United Kingdom climate is good in growing this plant. It is also known as “starflower”; it grows to about 60 to 100 cm. Its leaves and stems are hairy. The flower is usually blue, but sometimes comes with a pink one, its shape is triangular.

The taste of borage has been likened to cucumber. It is also used as garnish and may also use in salads. The flower provides a sweet taste like honey. It is also said that it is a good companion plant, especially with tomato, because it removes or otherwise confuses moths, which prevents them from interfering with the plants growth. It helps the tomato to grow to a fully developed, healthy fruit and makes the taste better.

Borage also helps individuals with hormonal problems. When taken properly it can also make one to perspire and it also helps to produce more milk for women. It also has anti oxidants and fatty acids, specifically called gramma-linolenic acid. Borage can also be found in skin care products like soaps and lotion.

How to grow:

 Lacing with direct sunlight is best for growing borage. Sandy types of soil best suit it.

  1. If you want to have flowers during summer, you may sow it in spring for preparation. But if you want it flowering in spring, you sow it in the autumn season.
  2. Provide 60cm interval for each when planting.
  3. When done, always provide adequate amount of water.
  4. It will begin to mature after 6 weeks. You may harvest it when the flower is already open.

 

Chamomile

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Chamomile can be an annual or perennial plant. It is derived from the Greek word chamaimelon, meaning “earth apple”. Its height is 6 to 24 inches. Its flower is daisy-like and usually grows best in moonlight. It can release a delicate aroma when being rubbed. The smell that is being produced was like that of bees and butterflies. Flowers are season-long. Chamomile may be used fresh or dried, and enhances the taste of butter, sauces, and sour cream. It is considered a safe plant, but when combined with other plants its safety may be at risk. Suggested and recommended intake of this is between 400 and 1600 milligrams. Too much doses might result to vomiting. It can be made as a tea, which give a relaxing and refreshing feeling because of the mild taste.

In Europe and the United States, chamomile is used as a main ingredient in making beverages. It can also benefit your muscle because it acts as a muscle relaxant. It has antiseptic and anti inflammatory abilities. It may also help to control insomnia.

How to grow:

  1. The germination process of chamomile takes for 7 to 14 days, and ultimately takes 1 month to be harvested.
  2. First grow it in a pot and then place it under full sunlight.
  3. Sprinkle only the seeds on the surface of the soil. Then water it regularly.
  4. Provide fertilizers if you have a very poor soil. Keep it moist.
  5. Plant it with 12 to 18 inches intervals in transplanting.
  6. Best time to harvest is during summer season.

summary

There is an old saying that goes something like this: “If you plant, you can harvest”. This is easily applied to planting herbs in our own backyard. Having a little patience in planting herbs will yield great benefits in oneself and will be a very rewarding activity. Growing herbs can become a hobby once you have a passion in gardening this will seem like the most natural thing in the world. Herbs are very useful, not only in culinary purposes but also in medicinal ability, which can help us to have a healthy body.

Wouldn’t it be good to imagine having fresh harvested herbs planted in your backyards? Having herbs will provide you availability of these herbs, saving and even potentially making you money. If you invest time in getting good at gardening, you will have the opportunity to sell some of your herbs. This lets you earn while you enjoy propagating these plants. You can also think of better uses of this without wasting money buying in the store.

This is definitely not the cleanest way of learning, it does require you to put some dirt in your hands and nails, it may cause some perspiration, may cause you to get tired. But the truth is that it will ultimately cause you to have a lot of new experiences, whether good bad. The benefits it will provide you with in the end, seeing all your hardship in planting, seeing healthy grown herbal plants with a beautiful rewarding flowers and fruits…significantly outweigh the downsides.

Nature loving is very healthy. Being surrounded with healthy herbal plants can reduce stress and boredom. So there, with this knowledge in planting herbs in our backyard hoping, I hope I have helped contribute to giving everybody a healthy living.

All the best