herbs

Growing Your Own Herbs

If youíre looking to start your own garden, whether indoor or outdoor, you should consider growing herbs. Not only are these plants fragrant, giving off a pleasant smell, but growing your own herbs allows you to have fresh ones whenever you need some to cook with. Because herbs are usually better fresh, a garden of them is one way to ensure that youíll always have them on hand and in their peak condition. Letís look at some of the herbs that you could grow in your garden.

Basil

One of the most popular and versatile herbs, basil is used worldwide in a variety of cooking applications. Basil goes particularly well with tomatoes, which is why this is one of the herbs often included in Italian dishes that feature tomato sauces. But varieties of basil are valued in many Thai dishes as well for their pungent aroma and great flavor. Harvesting the leaves regularly on a basil plant actually encourage new growth on the plant, so this plant is ideal for an herb garden that you can maintain all season.

Rosemary

Unlike many other herbs, rosemary resembles an evergreen bush more than any other plant, with little needle-like leaves. If youíve ever smelled a pine tree, though, you know that evergreen-type plants tend to have very noticeable scents, and rosemary shares this characteristic. Other than the great smell it gives off, this herb goes great in lamb dishes and with rice. Many herbs have medicinal properties, and rosemary is no exception, acting as a muscle relaxant in small amounts, though too much will leads to stomach irritation.

Chives And Scallions

You may not know it, but the plants in the onion family are herbs, too! This is most apparent for chives and scallions, which resemble chives. In both cases, the plants tend to form leaves that are almost round and hollow in the middle. Cut into small pieces, they add mild onion flavor to a variety of dishes, from French cooking, where chive is important, to Asian cuisine, where the scallion shines. In addition to being great for cooking, the juice from the leaves repels insects, making it useful for those looking to do some organic gardening.

As can be seen, herbs come in a variety of shapes and have a wide variety of uses, from food to medicine to natural insect repellents. With such a wide range of applications, a small garden, indoors or out, for herbs will allow you to have their versatility at your fingertips. So, get to your local gardening store and get started on growing your own!


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Gardening Tip #11

Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth but there are others that resent having their roots disturbed. Or their roots system may be small enough that they don't require re-potting. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant.