Know the 4 Best Uses For Your Herb Garden
Whether you have a full blown vegetable and fruit patch or just a few ornamental flowers in window boxes, herbs are an excellent addition to your garden.
With an almost endless choice of varieties, each having distinct appearances, flowers, aromas, flavours and beneficial properties, you’re sure to find something that you love and take great enjoyment from growing.
Possibly the greatest thing with growing your own herbs, vegetables or fruit is the satisfaction of getting to enjoy the ‘fruits’ of your labour.
Another major plus point with growing fresh herbs is that you then have the choice of how you use them. You can pick them fresh just before you intend to use them or most of them can be harvested and dried, providing you with a year round supply and saving you the expense of shop-bought dried herbs when your fresh ones are out of season.
#1 Herbal Tea
One of the most popular uses of fresh herbs throughout time has been to make delicious and refreshing hot teas.
They’re incredibly easy to make with the most difficult part being figuring out exactly how much of your chosen herb is needed to achieve the desired taste. To start with, take about ¼ cup of your chosen herb, place it in a cup and pour over roughly 1 cup of slightly cooled, boiled water.
Let this mixture steep for a few minutes and then enjoy your refreshing beverage. If it’s not strong enough for you then simply add some more of your herbs or if it’s a little too potent then just use less next time.
There are a number of herbs which are amazing in tea but some of my personal favourites are;
Woodland Calamint – This is a mint herb but is milder than many of the other mint varieties so makes a highly refreshing but not overpowering brew.
Lemon Balm – As the name suggests, this gives a lovely lemon flavour to tea.
Lemon Grass – Again, as the name suggest, this produces a refreshing lemon tea.
Stevia – Now this one doesn’t add flavour to your tea but is naturally sweet so can be used in place of sugar or other forms of sweeteners.
#2 Herbs In Food
Whether fresh or dried, herbs are a fantastic way of livening up any meal and although there is an almost endless list of permutations, there are some absolute classics out there like;
Oregano – if you consider yourself a pizza master then this is a must in your collection as no pizza sauce is complete without Oregano
Rosemary – it’s a fact of life that lamb and rosemary just work fantastically together.
Coriander / Cilantro – this is most definitely a love or hate herb but it just works brilliantly in so many dishes from Mexican food and curry’s through to livening up a fresh salad.
Basil – this works really well with tomatoes either in a fresh salad or used to make a sauce.
#3 Medicine & Home Remedies
Herbs, along with spices and flowers, have been used medicinally for thousands of years and back in the 17th century plague doctors used to wear rudimentary gas masks stuffed with them as they believed the pleasant smells purified the ‘bad’ air around them.
Herbs are still common in home remedies to this day;
Lavender – this is great at helping to relieve stress and anxiety as well as aiding restful sleep. Place some fresh lavender in your bedroom or make a lavender oil to use in your bath.
Lemon Balm – reputed to work well to treat stomach distress or discomfort when taken as a herbal tea as well as helping to relieve anxiety.
Sage – when taken as a herbal tea, sage is reputed to help ease sore throats and coughs as well as helping with excessive sweating.
The list of herbal remedies is almost endless so if you have a search around you’re bound to find something of interest to you but just keep in mind that I’m not offering medical advice here and you will need to research for yourself.
This one is often overlooked when we’re trying to grow our own produce but there is often great benefit and enjoyment to be taken from just having the plants in our collection.
Herbs come in a multitude of varieties with many of them producing amazing looking plants and beautiful flowers which provide a welcome addition to any garden.
Then there is the aroma! Pick your favourite aromatics and grow those herbs but be a little crafty and grow your favourites next to your seating area so you can enjoy the smell whilst sitting and contemplating the day. Or place some along your pathway or next to your doorway so that you brush against them, as you walk past, releasing the wonderful aroma into the air.
Whatever your reasoning for wanting to grow herbs, if you go out and do a little bit of research then you’ll find something that suits your needs but you should do a little bit of experimenting too as you might just be pleasantly surprised.