Monday, November 2, 2009

Organic Herb Gardening

Organic herb gardening is a wonderful way to add beauty to your landscape or to your kitchen and sun room. You can plant herbs directly into your vegetable garden or flower garden, or you can grow them in containers that you can place anywhere you wish. If you do not have the space for a full-size garden, growing your organic herbs in containers is a great way to go. Just keep in mind that most herbs will require full sun and good drainage if they are to flourish.

Organic herbs have long been used for cooking but they are also widely used for other things such as promoting health, for their calming affects, for sleeping aids, and for healing purposes. Some herbs will add a pleasant aroma to your garden or home such as basil and rosemary while others aid in deterring pests such as garlic, lavenders, mints, and rosemary.

Whether you grow perennial or annual organic herbs, you will find that most are easily cared for if you provide them with enough light and a healthy soil mixture. Annual herbs include basil, chervil, cilantro, dill, and parsley. Perennial herbs include chives, garlic, oregano, thyme, and fennel, to name just a few.

Organic herb gardening can be the perfect compliment to your organic vegetable garden. If you are growing organic vegetables, including tomatoes and cucumbers, you will also want some herbs to use when you begin harvesting your garden and using your vegetables for cooking. For your tomatoes you might want some basil, parsley and oregano to use in canning and for making sauces. For your cucumbers you might want some dill for pickling.

Use well-nourished soil for your organic herbs. You can make your own compost or purchase organic compost at your local nursery store. Place the herb containers where they will receive a minimum of 6 hours in the full sun and keep them moist, but not dripping wet. Though most herbs have few problems with pests, basil is sometimes affected by chewing insects. Rather than spraying your organic basil with insecticides, grow them in larger quantities so you will have enough unaffected plants to harvest. It is best not to use insecticides, of any type, with organic herb gardening.

When cooking with herbs, be sure to test the strength of their flavor by using small amounts at a time so you do not overwhelm the flavor of your meal with too much of one herb. You can also use the herbs for tea and other drinks. I like to add peppermint leaves to my water for a nice, but subtle flavor. Before cooking with herbs and making tea or flavoring any drinks, be sure the herb is one that can be ingested. Not all herbs are eatable and some can make you ill if ingested. Culinary herbs are those primarily used for cooking such as chives, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, basil, bay leaves and many others. Herbs often used for tea include chamomile, elderberry, lemon balm, lemon thyme, and mint.

Learn more about Organic Herb Gardening by visiting my site where you can sign up for my organic gardening tips newsletter and get a free copy of my Organic Gardening Handbook.

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