PowerHouse Purchase: Fresh Herbs.

It’s Monday!  And it’s almost over.  Memorial Day is just around the corner and that means SUMMER.  It’s getting muggier and muggier, but these are all just signs of my very favorite season.

I’ve successfully moved about 70% of my plants outside and have them adjusted.  I moved my indoor plants outdoors a little too quick this year and I unfortunately have to report I lost a few.  It was sad as I had some of those babies for five or so years.

However, one thing I seem to be successful with this spring/early summer is maintaining fresh herbs from seed.  I’ve picked up little pieces of this and pieces of that when it comes to plants and gardens over the years from my mom and grandma.  That whole side of the family has a knack for growing.  I took a course in horticulture and I have practiced a few of the tricks and tips from that class.  One thing I found fascinating from both resources is how much we can actually produce for ourselves for a minimal cost.  I do not have the space for an urban garden and I don’t necessarily have the funds or resources to do a potted garden this year, so I have really taken to growing my own herbs (and a lot of them) this year.

Instead of giving you a long, drawn out list of benefits for this week’s Power House Purchase, I’ll give you just a few benefits of growing your own herbs at home plus some tips for doing it successfully!

  • Rosemary is said to boost brain function.
  • Parsley contains apigenin which is said to act as a “blood tonic.”  Parsley is also extremely dense in chlorophyll which helps alkalinize the body.  This is good for those of your who suffer from acid indigestion!  Parsley is seen as an antioxidant, and it contains 3 times the amount of Vitamin C by volume compared to an orange.
  • Cilantro is one of nature’s richest sources of Vitamin K which is said to play a role in bone-mass building.  Cilantro is also contains a dense amount of chlorophyll and is considered an antioxidant.
  • Basil has been noted to fight unwanted bacterial growth within the body when ingested.  It is one of the top recommended foods to eat to fight candida growth.

These factoids are the result of a few internet searches and a book of natural remedies I keep handy.  You can find A TON of facts on all of the above mentioned herbs and more.  I have grown chives, basil, and wheatgrass this year all to be garnishes or used in smoothies/juices.

photo 5 (1)

Tips for your herb garden:

  1. Start your herbs indoors in a window with a lot of sunlight.  I actually started mine in my classroom this year which gets about 6 hours of direct sunlight.  Place no more than 10 seeds in a single pot.  You can easily separate as they begin to grow, but you don’t want them to be overcrowded from the start.

photo 4

  1. Be sure not to over water your babies!  If starting from seed and in a peat pot, it is easy to over water and drown your little seeds.  Be sure to only add water when the top layer appears dry and an even color.
  2. You will want to begin to slowly harden off.  This means, little by little, take your plants out in shaded spot outside a few hours a day.  BRING THEM IN!  Herbs like chives will grow like weeds and don’t necessarily need to be hardened off.  I had chives reappear in what I thought was a dead pot this year.
  3. Divide your herbs if they look crowded!  When they are young, you can easily get more than one plant by dividing your crop.  Place them each in pots with plenty of room to grow into.
  4. PRUNING.  Probably one of the hardest things to get the knack of.  My chives have already bolted (flowered before I could harvest), so you want to prune back your herbs to encourage more growth.  For example, Basil actually THRIVES when cut back.  As soon as you see a flower, you will want to pinch that part off.  Find two, smaller leaves coming from the stem beneath the flower part and pinch.  You will not need to begin this until they are about 6 inches tall.  Cutting it back will encourage more growth.  Look into how to prune AND harvest your herbs.
  5. For basil, you will want to follow a similar strategy as to that of cutting back.  Find two tiny baby leaves and pinch the part above it off.  This will encourage more growth rather than strip the plant.  NEVER just harvest random leaves one at a time leaving a barren stem.

Think of all the MONEY you will save if you grow and harvest your own herbs!  Forget those plastic packaged herbs at the grocery store that cost $1.79, produce waste, and typically go bad once opened.  Check out some nifty ideas for creating the perfect little herb garden in the pics below!

photo 1 (11)

Use old tea containers or tea cups for herbs.

photo 2 (10)

Paint terra cotta pots to your liking and match your decor.

photo 3 (8)

Make your own salsas and guacamole with your harvested herbs.

photo 4 (4)

Ever have Herbal Water? It’s amazing. But, you can make your own with a water diffuser and home grown herbs.

Happy Harvesting!

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