If you only do one smart and creative thing this month it should be planting a Herb Garden! Why? Because unlike a full blown Vegetable Patch, herbs are relatively easy to grow and don’t require all that much space or effort, so it doesn’t matter whether you have a huge backyard or you live in a tiny apartment block, you still have the ability to cultivate something fresh (and organic!) that you can eat anytime you want.
All you need is sunlight, water, the right positioning, and a little bit of TLC and your herbs will be flourishing in no time. Here’s why planting a herb garden is awesome:
Herbs have powerful medicinal properties
Apart from tasting great, herbs also come with some pretty super health benefits. They are loaded with antioxidants and have been used for hundreds of years to treat all kinds of different illnesses and conditions from infected wounds, to inflammation, to digestive disorders, to hormone imbalance, to colds and flus.
Some store bought herbs can lose a lot of their powerful nutrients through the storage and transportation process or poor growing conditions, but homegrown herbs are picked straight from the soil to your plate. Take a look at my Healing Ginger Tea recipe with parsley.
It will save you money
Buying a bunch of your favorite herbs every time you hit the grocery store is expensive, especially if you need 3 or 4 different kinds for specific recipes you’re making but you only need a little bit from each. Within a couple of days the herbs start to wilt in the fridge and you probably end up throwing majority of them out at the end of the week.
By keeping your own mini herb garden you can pick a few leaves of whichever one you need, and the rest just keep on growing! If your herbs are growing at a rapid rate and you need to harvest some of them but you can’t use them up all at once just chop them up finely, place them in ice cube trays, pour a bit of water over the top and pop them in the freezer ready to use in soups, stir-frys, curries, dressings or sauces. Also check out this Leftover-Herb Pesto Recipe.
You’ll know exactly how your herbs have been grown
You’ve seen my post on the importance of eating organic foods wherever possible, and one way of doing so is by growing your own foods. Herbs are a good place to start because the process isn’t quite as complex as growing other vegetables and fruits (most herbs will even grow on your window sill!).
Commercially grown herbs can be pretty heavily sprayed with pesticides, so planting them yourself means you have control over the way they are grown and you can choose natural pest control methods like companion planting and homemade bug sprays, that are gentle on you and the environment.
Here’s a cool little homemade bug spray recipe that you can use on your herbs:
1 Brown Onion
3 Garlic Cloves
1-2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Method: Crush all ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Cover with a bit of vegetable oil and leave for a couple of days. Strain the liquid and add to about 3 or more litres of water. Spray over herbs.
It will add flavour to your meals
The quickest way to jazz up any dish is with a hit of herbs. You can add basil to your salads, parsley or chives to your soups, mint to your juices and smoothies, coriander to your stir-frys, oregano to your homemade pizza sauce, the list is endless. There is no place that a herb won’t go! Homegrown herbs are also bursting with flavour, far more than any store bought kind.
Interacting with food and getting involved in the growing process is just straight up fun. Waking up of a morning and watering your herbs, taste testing the leaves as they grow, then picking them when they’re finally ready to harvest and throw into your favorite meal is a feeling of true accomplishment and connection to your plate. Plus you’ll want to show all of your family and friends when they come over because you won’t believe you’ve actually been able to produce something so alive and so tasty!
Conclusion: Plant a Herb Garden.
Do you own a herb garden? I’d love to hear your tips on growing healthy herbs!