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Learn About Herb Gardening – Get the Natural Facts!

One of the most appealing things anyone will learn about herb gardening is how relaxing and simple growing herbs can be. Discovering all the wonderful, various herbs and what they do is a captivating pastime, and can be quite beneficial. You can use herbs for cooking, as medicinal aids such as topical dressings or healthy teas, or simply for decorative plants in the garden.

There are so many herb plants to choose from, it can be a bit daunting to the beginning herb gardener. A good source of information that you probably have is your cookbook, which often devotes a chapter or two to the uses of different herbs as flavorings and accents.

Planting a Basic Herb Garden

Get acquainted with herb gardening by growing herbs you think you’ll use, plus throw in one or two that sound interesting to you. Herb gardens can range in size from small containers to vast outdoor gardens.

To best learn herb gardening, start simple with a small, sunny plot, or use a clay pot filled with potting soil.

The Two Big Needs that herbs have are:

– lots of sun, and

– well-drained soil.

Most herbs have a preference of full or partial sun, and the seed package or nursery will have this information clearly stated. Most herbs will not do well in very wet soil, and watering about every 2-3 days is usually sufficient. Raised garden beds are a good fit for herb gardens. They have excellent drainage and can be easily arranged for proper sunlight.

When planting herb seeds, cover them lightly with soil, and don’t plant the seeds too deep. A good rule of thumb with herb gardening is “the smaller the seed, the shallower you sow.” If you are using young herb plants already started in growing trays, simply transplant them into your pots or garden bed. Sometimes the plants in the trays are dry; if so, water them first before planting them.

Finally, remember that annual herbs (herb plants which only grow for one season and then die) and perennial herbs (herb plants which will return the following year) do best when planted separately. This avoids disrupting the perennial plants’ roots when it is time to dig out the dead annuals. It also prevents leaving dead root pieces behind which can contribute to fungus growth.

Grow Fresh Herbs for Cooking

Cooking with fresh herbs from your garden is a wonderful experience. To get started, here are gardening tips for two well-known herbs that are great for beginning herb gardeners.

Sweet Basil — Sweet basil leaves are good in salads, and are a main flavoring ingredient in tomato dishes such as spaghetti and marinara sauce. In the northern climates, basil is usually grown as an annual plant. In milder climates, sweet basil will return each year on its own, and therefore is considered a perennial plant.

The sweet basil herb is a pleasure to grow because it thrives in average soil, and likes sun or partial shade. Sow the seeds after danger of frost is over, or start them indoors about eight weeks before growing season and then transplant them outside. You can also purchase ready-to-grow starter plants from nurseries and through catalogs.

It’s easy to promote the bushiness of the basil plant leaves by pinching and clipping the herb throughout the summer. Use the leaves fresh during the summer growth months, and in the fall, dry the leaves and store them for use during the winter.

Garlic — Garlic is full of minerals and nutrients, and is known to have great medicinal properties. It is a staple in every chef’s kitchen for cooking dishes from chicken and pasta to seafood and vegetables. We’ve all seen garlic bulbs at the grocery store… but did you know that one simple garlic bulb has enough cloves to begin a garden full of garlic plants? Here’s what you do:

When spring arrives and the weather has begun to turn warm, prepare a small garden bed in a sunny spot. Take the cloves and place them, pointy side up, in the soil. Plant them in clusters, or rows, and put a light layer of topsoil over them with some compost mixed in. When fall arrives, lift the garlic bulbs out of their bed.

Dry the garlic by slicing the bulbs into thin slices and placing them on a rack at room temperature. You can also store the bulbs by braiding the stalks and hanging the garlic in a dark, cool space. You may also freeze the entire garlic bulb!

Learn about herb gardening with these herbs, and then begin to branch out with more. In the meantime, you’ll add wonderful flavors to your recipes, and mouthwatering aromas in the kitchen!

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Gardening Without a Plan

Not sure if you realize it but even “gardening without a plan” needs a plan. Ooops, wow! This kind of gardening doesn’t take a ship-size plan but requires just a little pre-thinking or pre-planning.

What are the most important things to consider?

  • Where you live
  • What your neighborhood statement is (condo -living?)
  • What is your budget?
  • What are your goals?

Now, what’s your plan?

Condo Gardening

If you live in a condo or in an apartment, then your gardening might be limited to flowerpot gardening, or windowsill gardening or patio gardening. Whatever the case, you can still garden! There are ways to do this –even in apartments and even in the strictest condos. Ears open now?

Private Home Gardening

If you live in a home, your own home, you might have less rules than a condo has, yet, even in most neighborhoods, you have that “unspoken” rule, “green grass rules”! Not to worry, you, too, can garden. You can still have your own personal space, your own style and stay right where you are.

Mansion Gardening

If you live in a mansion, yes, a mansion, you can still be a personal gardener for your own space. The key to happiness is all in knowing or realizing that, yes, “YOU CAN DO IT”!

What’s your message?

So, what is your neighborhood “statement” or unwritten rule? Look around you to find out what that is. Are all the yards bright green, no wholes in the lawn, just perfect, rectangular pieces of real or fake grass? Are all the houses, trim, slim, unencumbered, and just plain the same? As you look down the block, is it hard to tell one house from another? Does it look like the Stepford Wives live there? Really? What is the unwritten, unspoken rule of your block, of your neighborhood? Is there hope for your creative or different mind, right where you are? Yes, indeed! There’s always hope. If you keep an open mind, and are willing to really hear me, I’ll share my ideas about individual gardening or “gardening without a plan”.

What is your plan?

Do you want your garden to look like a professional? Do you want your space to say, “Hey, landscaper here”! Or do you want your green space to say, “Wow, that’s a lot of work”! Or do you want your gardening space to say, “Welcome to my wonderful, natural garden”! Or is your message, “No dog poop allowed”!

Are you gardening to bring attention to your cause or to your charity or to your line of work? Would Bonsai fit the plan? Is your plan to have people stop, pause and slow down in this busy city? Do you garden to promote peace? Or is your garden saying, “I believe in God”! Do you want the neighbors or people passing by to keep on walking or to stop and pause and to enjoy the green space? Ask yourself these questions and a few others and you just might have a plan for your unplanned garden.

Budget?

Can you afford the best for your garden? Or are you on a very limited budget? Is gardening part of your budget in a different way? Are you going to grow certain plants just to avoid buying things in a grocery store? Are you ready to plant Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and other herbs because you want to be able to pick your cooking ingredients every day — rather than shop for these things?

Budget or No Budget?

Or is your budget unlimited? Can you afford the top of the line in gardening get ups and accessories? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and begin creating a most magnificent garden, perhaps the most magnificent garden in your whole area? Ready for that?

Gardening Goals

Now, what is your real goal? What’s your real message? What is the “why” of your gardening?

Does your garden say, “Freedom”? Or does your garden say, “Hey, I’m fitting right in here”! Does your garden remain quiet, serene, unencumbered by whatever anyone else has to say or do — about your gardening? Are you looking to create and organize a mini-farm? Do you want a country environment, a natural environment or are you willing to ditch all that grass and trade it in for common sense groundcover? Do you want to mow grass? Or do you want to have a goat eat all the grass? The choices are all yours!

Or do you want your garden to remain “no work; no stress”?

Whichever is your goal or your statement, this is the place for you because all garden topics will be covered and then a few more. Over the next few weeks or months, I’ll cover practically every kind of gardening that there is. Hope you enjoy the ride!

Over time, we will discuss almost all the aspects of gardening and of other hobbies and of other nature topics.

What are your goals?

You will need to think about your gardening goals, financial goals, environmental goals and your spiritual goals.