Herb Gardens: How and Why To Plant Your Own

Springtime is a beautiful season where the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. The return of warm air and pastel colors brings with it a renewed desire to eat fresher and to eat healthier. Subsequently, just as it is a wonderful time to plant your flower garden, it is a wonderful time to plant an herb garden. 

Herb gardens are easy to plant with rewards that reap well into fall. With minimal effort, you can have three seasons of fresh herbs! These fresh herbs offer health benefits, inspire more creative cooking, and may even encourage you to eat healthier overall. For someone who is newer to the kitchen, using fresh herbs from your own herb garden is an easy way to feel more accomplished and for someone who is very comfortable in the kitchen, you’ll enjoy basing recipes around the herbs in your garden or adding a new twist to a classic dish.

The best part about planting an herb garden is that you can personalize it to fit you--it can be indoor or outdoor, it can be however big or small you want it to be, and it gets to be made up of herbs all chosen by you! To start, decide where you are going to keep your herb garden. If you have a deck or other outdoor space with easy access to your kitchen, I recommend putting your garden there. If you don’t have an outdoor space, indoor by a window works as well. After you know where you are going to put your herb garden, decide what size and style of garden you want. You can have one planter or multiple small pots where you put an herb in each pot. You have a lot of flexibility here, but definitely make sure to plant herbs in a container rather than directly into the ground because some herbs will spread farther than you meant for them to. Next, choose which herbs to plant. Think about the herbs you commonly use and expand to herbs you could see yourself trying out.

As you are deciding which herbs to plant, here are a few herbs with their health benefits and uses:

Basil

Health Benefits: Basil is high in vitamin K, which helps with strong bones and blood clotting when you have a cut.

Uses: This herb is widely used and common in Italian recipes. More directly, a few ways to use basil are chopping up and putting in your salad, putting on top of pizza, and making your own homemade pesto.

Spearmint

Health Benefits: Mint is a great way to increase your water intake and may help ease cramps or an upset stomach.

Uses: Mint is my personal favorite herb because you can put it in your water to add a little flavor and style. Simply put it in your water each morning and refill your cup! Mint is also great to use for marinades or Middle Eastern recipes.

Parsley:

Health Benefits: Parsley has a very high amount of vitamin K, which helps with bone strength and proper blood clotting, and vitamin C, which is an antioxidant to contribute to your overall health.

Uses: Parsley can be used in many, many ways. You can put it in your meat marinade, chop it up in salads, and put in sauces and soups.
 

After you have planned out your herb garden, the rest is easy. You buy your planter or pots, your herb plants (which should be small and around 8 inches tall), and a bag of soil from your nearest home garden store and then you plant them! Water them whenever the soil feels dry. Now, you are done and ready to use your new herbs. Enjoy!
 

Sources:

http://www.rd.com/home/gardening/growing-herbs/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20705274,00.html/view-all

http://permaculturenews.org/2016/06/29/top-10-herbs-and-their-health-benefits/

http://www.tastefulgarden.com/How-to-Grow-Herbs-d22.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=85

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=112

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266128.php

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=109