Benefits of Growing Your Own Herbs

The benefits of growing your own herbs can be the joy and actual fun of beginning an interesting hobby, growing the herbs that have medicinal value for you, those you use to enhance flavor in your cooking, or planting an herb garden for the beauty and lovely aroma exuded from certain plants.

If you have never grown herbs in your garden, or in containers, perhaps it is time you gave it a try. If you enjoy cooking with herbs, you can reap the benefits of growing your own herbs, getting them fresh from your garden. It is a kind of exciting venture to prepare the soil, the location in your garden and choosing the herbs you enjoy using in recipes, for medicinal purposes, for the beauty of the plants, or simply for their wonderful aroma.

You can create your herb garden, and enjoy the benefits of growing your own herbs, in your outside garden or in containers. The herbs need at least six hours of full sun each day. Also, herbs need to have a soil that is rich in compost for moisture and food. The area you choose in your garden must also have good drainage, as it is not good for the plants to sit in constant highly-moisturized soil. One way to have control of the soil for your herb garden is a ‘raised bed.’ In the raised bed, you can also make the soil as you wish, such as part of it more moisturized and other parts of it in a drier mode. To make a raised-herb bed, you need an enclosure with sides of from two to four feet high. Fill this enclosure with the soil and make sure it has some nutrients and will hold some moisture. The soil must also have good drainage. It cannot be too wet, and yet we must never let it become dried out.

Many of the well-known herbs need very little, if any, fertilizer. If the nutrients are applied excessively, they can burn plant roots, mimic diseases, and ruin the quality of your harvest of herbs. You can, in many cases, get good plant growth by simply upgrading your soil. Herbs need a variety of nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. These three nutrients are somewhat vital, and are usually available in soils that are rich in organic matter such as compost, leaf humus, or decayed livestock manure. One tip, organic fertilizers may release some of their nitrogen more gradually as the organic source decomposes more slowly in the soil.

Planting herbs in containers is the way I go. Because of our cold winters here in northern Indiana, I prefer to have a ‘portable garden,’ as most people here do, to realize the benefits of growing their own herbs. The greatest benefit of growing your own herbs is having the freshly-grown herbs available in your home, whether for use in recipes or for medicinal uses.

Some herbs are more suited for containers – some of these herbs are: aloe, lemon grass, cardamom, bay laurel, pomegranate, rosemary and society garlic. One of my favorite culinary herbs is fennel, which does well in hot, humid climates. Our summers are quite hot and humid here, but winters are often severely cold. So, if I decide to grow fennel, I would have it in a container that could be left outside in summer and moved inside in winter. The benefits of growing my own herbs would be visible, as I know how many times I have run out of fennel when making pizza. The fennel would also need some type of light for at least six hours each day. A large fluorescent CFL twist light would probably work well.

There are many herbs one can grow to receive the benefits of growing your own herbs. Try a few to begin, and then if you enjoy it, keep adding more herbs, either in your outside garden or in containers.

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