Table of Contents
An Introduction to Herbs
Growing Your Own Supply
Collecting, Drying and Storing Herbs
Adding Herbs to the Cookbook
Homemade Herbal Mixtures
Conventional Treatments VS Herbal Treatments
The Herbal Medicine Cabinet
The Alternative Advantage
Alternative Natural Herbal Treatments
Herbal Medicinal Treatments
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Different Types of Herbal Medicine
Herbal Diet Supplements
Advantages of Herbal Diet Supplements
Are Their Any Side Effects To Natural Treatments?
Natural Skin Remedies
Herbal Acne Remedies
Natural Herbal Recipe
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Growing Your Own Supply
The thought of walking through a garden on a warm summer day brings back childhood memories once forgotten. To think of walking in an herb garden, with the delicate scents wafting up with each step is something out of a fairy tale. You can create your own fairy tale setting right in the back yard.
There are so many things to consider when you decide to plant an herb garden. The first is location. You need to remember that most of the plants in this garden are going to be used in the kitchen. The best place to put them would be by the kitchen.
It is always best to choose a section in the yard close to the door. You may want to have the fresh herbs available for cooking but easy access is always a key role in how many of them actually make it to the stewing pot. When the herbs are right within walking distance of the kitchen you are more likely to run out and pick a few leaves to use. If you have to go all the way to the back of the yard, you may not feel so inclined to add that particular flavoring to your dish.
You do not need acres of land to have a fantastic herb garden. You can have more than enough space for the most common herbs in a five foot square area. You must remember the fact that herbs tend to spread rapidly when growing. You can start out with five feet and within a few short months have the entire section full.
A sunny location is a good choice for your herb garden. One that gets partial shade in the afternoon is best. Herbs love the sun, but too much can make them wither or sprout up and go to seed quickly. Once an herb goes to seed, it can become woody. However when you do not allow the plant to have the light of the full sun, you can have spindly little plants.
Along with proper growth is the essential oils that give the herbs their wonderful flavors and aromas. In the full sun the plants are able to develop luscious green foliage and intense oils. The flavors will come bursting out when you use them in the kitchen.
The bottom line to choosing where your garden is going to go is location, location, location. The right one will make all the difference.
You will find that because most natural herbs were once weeds, and in some cases still considered as such, they will grow in almost any soil. You must remember that they are plants and as such must be treated accordingly. You should use a natural fertilizer if you can. The herbs like to have a more neutral type of soil. Just by adding some dead leaf compost and tilling it under when planting can make the herb garden grow better than ever.
The better quality soil, the better your herb garden will grow. However, most herbs will grow anywhere. As a matter of fact, you may find they will grow right out of the nice bed you have prepared for them and into the lawn. There is an actual benefit to this; the smell is fantastic when you are mowing the lawn. Just walking past and brushing up against the fragrant leaves releases a wonderful aroma into the air.
The main problem many new gardeners face is what to plant and what to leave out. It is not advisable to try every herb all at once. The best way to enjoy your culinary garden is to choose four or five hardy varieties of an herb you will use in the kitchen. This will allow you to get started with the basics of growing an herb garden. It is a great experience which you will be able to enjoy year ’round.
Some of the more hardy varieties include basil, oregano, and mint. Most herbs are hardy enough to be grown anywhere in the country. There are some which are only going to grow in the more tropical climates. You should check the hardiness zones of the plants you want to grow before you purchase them. This can save you from disappointment.
When you finally decide on a sunny area for the garden, make sure it is tilled up smoothly. The rich dirt can be bolstered with nutrients if you like. A standard garden fertilizer is all you need.
You can either start the plants in the house during the winter, six weeks before the last frost, or you can sow the seeds directly into the ground. You must make sure if you start the seeds in the house, the plants are hardy and can take being transplanted. Some do not like to be moved once they have started growing. The easy varieties, like the mint family, seem to thrive on abuse. It is as though nothing can kill them.
The plants you start in the garden must not be planted until after the last frost is over. The ground must be warm and ready for growing. If you plant too soon the seeds will only rot and not germinate. The most successful way is to start the seeds indoors. This way there is no chance of the weather turning and having the seeds die.
To start the seeds indoors, it is best to use gardening trays. You can mark each tray with the seed variety you have planted in them. This makes it easy to know which is which. At an early stage they will all look the same. The trays can be purchased in either a self watering variety or you can maintain a constant watering source for them. The herbs are not really hard to grow at all. You just have to have patience.
You will want to use a sterile medium for starting seeds. This can be as simple as a good potting soil. One that is full of sticks and other debris may still hold contaminates. This is not a good potting soil to start the seeds in.
You can use this soil for later use when potting the plants, but do not use it to start your seeds. Some people have had success with it, and some have had major disappointments. It is always safer to just buy a good potting soil with no contaminates.
The soil can be put into the trays for the seeds at about two inches deep. This will allow the new plants to generate a good rooting system. The plant’s life is in its roots. You need to make sure the roots will be able to expand.
Watering of a new planting system can be hard. This is why I recommend a self watering system. The soil does not dry out nor does it get too moist. The moisture stays just right for the seeds to germinate.
Some people put the seed trays on heat pads to keep the soil warm. This is not necessary for germination. You should cover the trays with some sort of lid. Many of the trays come with lids. If your tray does not have one you can make one out of plastic wrap. Just make sure to remove the plastic once the plants start appearing.
It can take up to two weeks for some of the herb seeds to start germinating. When they do you will see the little sprouts everywhere. Do not try to thin them at this point. You should, however remove the plastic. One tip is to remove the lid for a few hours each day for a couple of days to allow the young plants to acclimate.
This will allow the seedlings to get used to the colder air of the house. It will also keep in some of the extra moisture needed by the plants as they grow.
There is no need to fertilize the young plants at this point. That will come soon enough. You will want the plants to get stronger and a little bigger. When the first true leaves have formed, not as they are forming but when they have formed, you can start to weed out the excess plants. Thin the plants to about two inches or more apart. You must remember that natural herbs are actually weeds. The strongest will survive.
The new plants are a little temperamental. You cannot ignore them and expect them to survive. Proper lighting and watering are needed to make them grow. As they get bigger you will want to transplant them into containers so they can grow stronger for the outdoors.
The soil you transplant the new herb seedlings should be light and loose. You will want the roots to be able to breathe and not drown. Proper drainage is necessary when you re-pot the plants, as well. Keep the pots a little on the small side. You want the plants to develop a good rooting system, but you want to force some growth up top as well.
As the plants mature you will want to weather them. This is nothing more than taking them outside for a breath of fresh air. When the weather is warm enough, you can take the new plants outside to soak up the bright sunlight. This will acclimate the plants to the outdoors.
If you do not include this step, the plants can go into shock. Just putting them straight into the garden without gentle acclimation could cause the young plants to die. They are not used to the colder nights and brighter days, which can shock a plant and cause them to die or grow poorly.
Once you have weathered the plants for about a week or so, you can start to transplant them into the garden. Select the spot where you want each herb to grow. I guarantee this is not where they will stay because herbs have a tendency to spread.
To use herbs you must prune the plant. Pruning and clipping cuts down on the growth and spreading. There is a way to keep your herb garden under control.
You can always grow them in a container. This will ensure growth and spreading do not get out of hand.Other Details
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