Planting a Herb Garden

Well spring is here and that means it’s a time for new beginnings. What better project to start than your very own herb garden.

Herbs are fantastic not only to cook or bake with but also from a visual point of view they can add much colour and fragrance to your garden or outdoor space. The best thing is that you don’t need a massive garden to grow herbs in. You can grow them on your windowsill in tin cans or in pots on the balcony. If you do have the luxury of space then the sky is the limit as to what you can grow.

You needn’t have green fingers to grow herbs, there are some hardy herbs that may surprise you. Growing a herb garden is extremely rewarding and it’s a perfect project for kids to take on so as to teach them how to care for things and grow something of their own.

Some popular herbs to grow are parsley, mint, basil, thyme, rosemary.

MINT

Plant type: Perennial
When to plant: Spring
Soil: Moist – place a pot of mint under a dripping tap and watch it flourish.
Properties of mint: Mint is rich in many vitamins and minerals.
Cooking with mint:
– Season lamb, fish, poultry, and a variety of vegetables with mint.
– Add it to green salads or fruit salads.
– Use it for refreshment beverages such as punch, lemonade, and tea.
– Enjoy summer cocktails such as the Mint Julep or a Mojito
– Freeze mint in cubes and add them to iced tea.
Remedies with mint:
As well as aiding digestion after a meal mint can be used to treat stomach cramps, menstrual cramps, flatulence, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and colic in children.

mint-leaves

BASIL

Plant type: Annual
When to plant: Spring and Summer
Soil: Rich, moist, well-drained soil
Location: sun or partial shade; can grow indoors
Cooking with basil:
– Use fresh or dried in pasta sauces, stews, soups.
– Add to salads
– Liquidise them with pine nuts to make a pesto.
– Sprinkle fresh basil on pizzas or pastas
Properties of basil: Basil is a rich source of vitamin K, beta carotene and iron.
Remedies with basil:
It is most commonly used for its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help fight the aging process.

Coconut Basil5
PARSLEY

Plant Type: Biennial, although usually grown as an annual
When to plant: Winter and Spring
Soil: Rich, moist soil
Location: Sun / Partial Shade – indoors and outdoors
Cooking with parsley:
– Use parsley in soups, stews and sauces.
– It makes a great garnish for almost any dish.
Properties of parsley:
Parsley has a high concentration of boron and fluoride, and is rich in iron and rich in vitamins A, B and C.
Remedies with parsley:
Parsley is a natural breath freshener; it might help against bone thinning or osteoporosis and can be used in teas as a diuretic to rid the body of excess water.

aphanes_arvensis_parsley_piert_leaf_14-04-06

ROSEMARY

Plant type: Perennial
When to plant: Year round
Soil: well-drained soil
Location: Sun or partial shade and it can grow indoors.
Properties of rosemary: Rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin B6.
Cooking with rosemary:
– It is a choice herb to use when cooking meat, especially lamb and fish.
– Rosemary can also add a bold flavour to sauces of such dishes.
Remedies with rosemary:
Rosemary is traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune system and improve circulation. It is known to promote hair growth and is often used in cosmetics.

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THYME

Plant type: Perennial
When to plant: Spring or Summer (Hard to grow from seed – get plugs from your local nursery)
Soil: Tolerates poor soil.
Location: Sun or partial shade, grows well indoors.
Properties of thyme: Thyme is packed with anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-rheumatic, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties.
Cooking with thyme:
– Use to add flavour to soups and stews or even omelettes.
– It makes a tasty stuffing for roast chicken or turkey.
– Thyme and butter make a wonderful sauce for fish.
– Add it to fresh salads or roast vegetables for a zesty freshness.
Remedies with thyme:
Thyme is commonly used as an expectorant, diuretic, fungicide and antibiotic.