Start Now, Plant a Herb on Your Home Garden
Do you want to do something that is enjoyable and useful? Is it practical for you to turn the valuable free time that you have into something that will save you money? Do you need exercise and would you like to get less stressed? Would you like to do something that you won’t have to spend lots of money on? Okay, take your indoor herb garden kit now and lets start growing herbs at home…
If you had answered yes to some or all of the questions given above, then you should start by planting an herb garden. As a hobby, with a minimal amount of investment, planting herbs will allow you to harvest fresh herbs and even dry them for future use. You will be able to get a few leaves and add it into the dishes that you cook, flavor oils and vinegars, and even make jellies and syrup.
Herbs are also useful to lessen your stress. In you very own private herb garden, you can breath in the air, filled with the aromatherapy scents that are the properties of the various plants. Many that can de-stress you in several different ways. You can also use the plant parts to make herbal beverages that will give you much needed vitamins and minerals and even help clean out the toxins that your body has accumulated over the years.
Planting an herb garden is easy and you do not need too much space, even if you decide to have an outdoor garden. Individual herb plots can be as small as 3 ft x 3 ft. You can use the garden soil that you have, adding rocks and sand to ensure that you have proper soil drainage and the materials that you need to mulch, compost and fertilize are free or inexpensive.
The actions of tilling the soil, planting the herbs, fertilizing and doing proper gardening maintenance like taking out the weeds, watering the plants will give you the daily exercise that you need to be healthy. Making gardening part of your daily routine will ensure that you get one hour of exercise easily. Integrate a pattern of bending, stretching and walking to maximize the exercise that you get.
Plant an herb garden to give you the physical benefits of the harvesting your own herbs for culinary and medicinal use, the decorative advantages, aromatherapy, physical exercise and even the mental benefit of being able to stop from worrying and stress relief while gardening as it is an action that is controlled by the side of your brain that does the worrying. It will also help you save money as you no longer need to buy from the stores.
Planting an herb garden is a one time investment that will serve you well for many years to come. Choose the herbs that you often use or would like to have available. If you do not have the skill to plant an outdoor or an indoor garden and would like to do it successfully, take the time to study herb gardening to ensure that you will be able to maximize the time and effort that you will devote into this project. Start today and enjoy your herb garden for many years to come.
With an awareness of the various side effects of conventional medicine there are many people that are turning towards the safe haven that herbal remedies provide. No amount of argument that says that herbal remedies are not tried and tested or scientific solutions to a medical condition seem to have any effect on these herbal enthusiasts since they know that herbal remedies take a longer time to show effect. On the other hand, they also know that these remedies are likely to cure the root cause of the medical condition being treated rather than just alleviate symptoms.
If you are someone who understands the health benefits of herbal remedies then it may be obvious for you to know that having an herb garden can be extremely beneficial. There will be no need to go rushing to the herbal shop to try and locate the specific herb that you are looking for. Nor will there be a need to wait for the few days until the Internet herbal purchase arrives.
Using herbs on a regular basis also helps in strengthening the immune system. If you have an herb garden then using these on a regular basis becomes easy. If you have a chronic condition that is being treated with herbal remedies, the herbs in your garden can help you save a lot of money too. Continues availability of the herb that is required also helps in keeping a stock. Fresh herbs from the garden are far more potent and active as compared to those that have been processed and sealed in a box.
When you grow a specific plant, you can actually use almost all parts of the herbal plant in various concoctions and recipes that you prepare. You can use the roots, leaves, petals and sometimes the stems too. The real benefits of an herbal garden come from the manner in which you can use it. Some suggestions below can help.
- Use the herbs in your cooking – Herbs can add a lot of flavor to the dish besides providing the various health benefits that they do. You can add herbs that are delicious and healthy to marinades, sauces and soups. Chives, parsley, tarragon, coriander and parsley are some herbs that can be used in this manner. Garlic is considered to be extremely good for the heart and cholesterol conditions too. Aniseed can help in curing respiratory issues and therefore is a must for asthmatic patients. Lemon balm can calm nerves and reduce anxiety.
- Add them to the salads – Chopped vegetables can be extremely bland and adding herbs like basil, thyme, oregano and more to these salads can make then delicious and healthy.
- Herbal oil for massages -With all the herbs that you have in the backyard herb garden, you can choose to make nice aromatic or herbal oil. Depending on the ingredients that you are choosing, your herbal oil can be used to massage the body or the hair. You can warm the oil and add fresh herbs from the garden. Rosemary, oregano, thyme, chive, sage are only some of the herbs that you can use from the garden. An herbal or aromatic oil massage can revitalize you like nothing else can. The stimulation of the blood circulation also helps in keeping the body fit.
- Fragrant aromas – Another way in which you can use the herbal flora that you have available in the backyard is to use herbal concoctions for fragrant aromas in the house. You can use these aromatic herbs later to flavor the food or soup later. Herbs like rosemary and mint lend themselves to this use and also keep insects and animals at bay.
It is interesting to note that not only do the herbs in the garden provide you with all the herbs that you may need to maintain good health, the specific act of growing a herbal garden itself helps in many ways. Gardening is a good activity that allows you to show your creativity and is something that you can enjoy with your children. The mere act if gardening allows you to slow down and is therefore is helpful in relaxing the pace at which you are running. The activity improves hand-eye coordination, motor skills and self esteem.
Thyme is a wonderfully versatile herb that can be easily grown in a herb garden. Nowadays it’s known mainly as a culinary herb, but back in the days of England’s Queen Victoria it was also frequently used as a “ground-covering herb” – when it was used to create lawns and beautiful, sweeping garden banks of aromatic white, pink and yellow flowers that released their fragrance when trodden on.
If you are familiar with the scent of thyme, I am sure you can imagine what it must have been like on a summer evening to be sitting on a lawn of thyme, soaking up the evening sun and absorbing that wonderful characteristic herbal aroma. Well, why just imagine it? Its not a major project to plant your own thyme lawn, and once it’s done you’ll never tire of the pleasure it will give you during the summer months.
In this article I am going to provide you with all the information you need to create a lawn from the culinary herb thyme. There are four straightforward steps to follow:
1. Pick a suitable variety of thyme
2. Choose the right location and conditions for your herbal lawn
3. Planting your thyme (and growing it from seed)
4. Looking after your herbal lawn
Varieties of Thyme
There are lots of varieties of thyme (350 at the last count!), all of which can be put to culinary use. But to create a lawn you will need to purchase or grow a creeping variety of thyme. As the name suggests these varieties spread to form a “carpet” of plants which will survive through even quite cold winters and flourish each year (thyme is a perennial herb).
In June and July your thyme lawn will not only give off its fragrant familiar smell, but it will also be covered with masses of tiny flowers the color of which will depend upon the variety of thyme you choose.
Lemon Frost is a rapid growing variety with round leaves and wonderful lemon scent. It’s perfect for covering large segments of ground. Doone Valley thyme has variegated leaves and pink flowers. Pink lemonade thyme has pink flowers. Golden lemon thyme has tiny golden yellow leaves.
Use the internet to find a specialist herb supplier such as Mountain Valley Growers in California (they sell over 50 different varieties of thyme). But if you want to shop local, you’ll easily find something suitable at your local garden center.
Choosing the Right Location
Do some planning to make sure you create your herbal lawn in the best possible spot in your garden.
– Choose a spot that enjoys full exposure to the sun and has a well-drained, light soil
– Remove all leaves and surface weeds and use a weed killer with glyco-phosphate to poison weeds that have deep roots (if you don’t want to use the weed-killer “double-dig” the soil and manually remove all traces of roots)
– Dig in compost or manure if the soil lacks humus
– Rake the soil to a firm, level finish (firm it down with the head of your rake if necessary).
Planting Your Thyme Lawn
You can either buy herb plants or grow your thyme herb plants from seed. I’ve covered both of these options below:
Buy Thyme Plants
– Measure the area of your lawn. You will need about twenty plants to every square yard
– Transplant your thyme from the pots or trays they came in, ensuring a distance of about 20cm between each plant
– Water well and refrain from walking on the lawn for about a month
Grow Plants from Seed
– Sow your thyme seeds in the fall
– Buy seed trays with compartments and use a soil-less potting compost
– Sow two or three seeds in each compartment
– Keep your seed trays moist and warm, but out of direct sunlight
– Expect your seeds to germinate in about a week
– Transplant them to small pots (2/3 inches) when they are about 2 inches tall
– Plant you lawn when your potted plants have grown to 3 to 4 inches.
Looking after Your Lawn
Your lawn will not need much care. Unlike a grass lawn it should never need cutting.
– Weed your lawn regularly
– When bare patches appear (they will, unfortunately) fill them with rooted pieces of thyme propagated from other well-grown plants
– Don’t allow your lawn to become water-logged.
Other Ways of Using Thyme in Around the Garden
Whilst I strongly recommend planting a thyme lawn because of the absolute pleasure it’ll bring to you, you may be put off by the hard work and expense involved. However, there are other ways in which you can use thyme in your garden that don’t involve as much work:
– Plant patches of thyme between stepping stones
– Create patches of thyme on sunny banks around your garden
– Create a fragrant thyme foot rest beneath a garden seat.
Whatever you choose to do, you won’t regret using thyme as a ground-cover plant. Also, I haven’t described all the creative possibilities you could explore. If you want more variety with your ground-cover herbs mix your thyme plants with other aromatic ground-cover herbs such as penny royal and chamomile. Take some time to research these and other possible ways of using well-known culinary herbs in different areas of your garden.
In recent years there has been renewed interest in using plants and herbs as natural remedies and beauty treatments, alongside an interest in healthier lifestyles and a more natural approach to tending to our body’s needs. Although some natural uses for plants and herbs can be perhaps a little too complicated for most people to tackle, there are a number of simple recipes and techniques anyone can try for themselves and experience some of the wonderful effects plants and herbs can have on our lives and health.
Simple health remedies using plants and herbs
Unlike many herbs and plants whose properties have been well known for hundreds if not thousands of years, it was only during the 1970s that the abilities of fever-few to sooth headaches was fully recognized. It is particularly effective against migraines. As with most herbal remedies, you can buy fever-few in tablet form. Alternatively eat up to five leaves a day between a slice of bread to help alleviate migraines.
Peppermint has long been prized for its ability to sooth indigestion and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Make a tea of peppermint leaves steeped in hot water. Peppermint also has anti-bacterial properties and this combined with it fresh aromatic flavour makes it a good mouth wash to combat bad breath. Peppermint oil can also be used in massage to help relieve muscular pain.
The astringent, anti-bacterial properties of witch hazel make it a very useful remedy for spots and pimples. You can make a simple gel by boiling up some young witch hazel twigs, mix the liquid with some gelatine to make the gel and add vodka as a preservative. It will keep for up to six months if refrigerated.
Marigold flowers have many healing uses. The flowers have antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. A compress of marigold flowers can be used to treat burns and stings. They are also effective against chilblains. A cold infusion can be used as eyewash to treat conjunctivitis.
Juniper berries contain strong anti-inflammatory and astringent substances and can be used as oil in massage to stimulate circulation and help relieve back pain. A healing ointment can be made from juniper berries to help treat scratches and relieve itching.
The properties of sage, rosemary and wormwood are well known as insect repellents. Make a pot-pourri from the leaves of all three to help deter flying pests.
Lavender oil is probably the most popular and versatile of all essential oils. For hundreds of years it has been used for its soothing properties. The oil can be used as a remedy for burns and stings and its anti-bacterial properties can help heal cuts and scratches. A few drops on a pillow or burned in an oil burner can help promote sleep. Rubbed on the temples, lavender oil is also effective in soothing headaches. You can distil your own oil but the process is laborious so it is probably easier to buy lavender oil from a good herbal shop.
Simple beauty remedies
To strengthen your hair and stimulate growth make a simple hair tonic from the leaves of nettles and use as a final rinse after shampooing.
For an uplifting and refreshing bath, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to your bath water. Or use as an inhalant by adding a few drops to a bowl of boiling water, place a towel over your head and the bowl and breathe in. It will both clear your senses and stimulate your facial skin.
Make a useful face scrub by mixing ground almonds and oat flakes with cider vinegar and basil essential oil. The basil helps to kill bacteria and the almond flakes and oats remove dead skin cells.
Strawberries have long been used by the cosmetic industry. Make a face mask by mashing the fruit to extract the juice and apply to the face to lighten freckles and other blotches. You can also apply sliced strawberries to your face to help relieve slight sunburn.
An infusion of chamomile can be used as a hair rinse to lighten blond hair. Likewise, and infusion of rosemary leaves has a darkening effect on dark hair. Many face creams contain extract of marigold. Marigold flowers, used as a skin lotion can help reduce the size of pores and nourish the skin.
The properties of aloe vera encourage skin regeneration and it is therefore be used in hand creams, shampoos and face lotions.
Plants and perfume
Perfumes made from plants have always played an important part in our lives. Perfumes stimulate the senses. Fragrant plants like roses and scented geraniums can be grown in garden planters and placed in places where there stimulating scent can be best enjoyed. They have traditionally been used in religious rites, in the promotion of good health and for aesthetic purposes. Perfumes can be flowery, citrus, woody, aromatic or sweet. Perfume from flowers and plants can be extracted and used in a number of ways. Drying plants helps to preserve scent and the dried material can then be made into pot-pourri to fragrance our houses. Oils from fragrant plants can be distilled to greatly enhance their scent. These essential oils can then be burnt or applied to base oils to rub into the body.
You can make a simple toilet water or eau-de-cologne from the leaves of your favourite flowers. Fill a small bottle with the fresh leaves of rose or lily of the valley and top up with vodka and leave for a week. Strain and replace the leaves for as long as they are freshly available and eventually the alcohol will become saturated with the scent of the flowers.
Make a soothing herb pillow by adding some of your favourite dried herbs to a small pillow or bag. Add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or bergamot to promote a calming effect. Dried or fresh flowers and leaves from fragrant plants can also be made into bath bags and sachets and soaps.
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