Using Herbs From a Home Herb Garden

It has been said that the most natural flavoring for any foods are herbs and spices. But sometimes it is very hard to get the specialty herbs. You have planted herbs and have witnessed them mature and boom. They are very helpful in a lot of ways. However, utilizing herbs from your home herb garden needs a bit of work first.

To make it possible to utilize the fresh herbs you need to first plant them, provide a good environment in which they can grow, and then harvest them. Of course, time is a huge aspect. The wind as well as the heat could diffuse the important oils of your herbs. Just a few oils are formed by the herb during the wet seasons. In relation, make sure to harvest the herbs as the dew dries up on the leaves as the flowers open. When it comes to harvesting a home herb garden, it does not necessarily mean eliminating the whole plant. In such time, you are merely taking a definite quantity of growth to use. You don’t have to utilize the herbs that you have harvested at the instance that you gather them. You could preserve them for important use later on. Be cautious not to get more than one third of your plant’s flora. The plant would require an ideal quantity of flora to grow again. Also, examine if there are insects and spoiled leaves in your plant before you pick it.

Normally, three important means are used after gathering herbs from a home herb garden- freezing, drying, or preserving them with use of a medium like vinegar or salt. To dry the herbs you have to jointly pack at least 6 to 12 stems and eradicate any shrubbery close to the stems’ base. You can secure the bundle using a string. Place the bundle of herbs in a cold place away from the sunlight. A very easy method to preserve herbs is through freezing them. Slice the herbs in at least 1/4 inch portions and put them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. After freezing the herbs, you could put them in a bag and put them inside the freezer until you use them.

Another means of preserving some of your herbs from a home herb garden is by covering them with vinegar. With the use of vinegar, your herbs can be preserved for quite a few months. Otherwise, you could make use of a flavored salt in preserving the herbs. When totally dried out, separate the flavored salt from the brown herbs and put them in a sealed container.

Home Herb Garden Tips

When creating your own home herb garden, there are many options available to you, I have created this list of tips just to simplify the process if you have no idea where to start, or are suffering from information overload!

  1. Choose 3 herbs to begin with, you can buy a set of three small pots in a shared tray that is small enough to fit on a window ledge and looks very attractive. You can choose to grow from seed or buy small potted herbs. These would be very handy for cooking with if placed in the kitchen, try to make sure they are in a position to get plenty of sun.
  2. Do some research on the herbs you have chosen and consider whether they will stay indoors or be planted outside. If you choose to plant them outside (when they are sufficiently established of course), I would advise to plant in a pot on the patio in the first instance, this will allow you to move the herb easily to the most beneficial location (with regard to sunshine) for it to flourish.
  3. As you move herbs outdoors (or maybe to another location in the home) you can then start growing another herb in the vacant pot, thus building your collection and learning about each one gradually.
  4. As your knowledge increases, you will be in a much better position to design an outdoor herb garden, which herbs will thrive in which type of soil and which need the most sunshine etc. A word of warning from personal experience here: if you are growing mint, I would keep it in its own pot or container — mint completely overwhelmed the rest of my herbs and ran riot in my first attempt at a home herb garden outdoors!
  5. To preserve your herbs for later use, you can dry them, freeze them or preserve them in salt or vinegar. Freezing is probably the simplest way initially, wash and chop into inch long segments, freeze laid out flat on greaseproof paper and when frozen you can put them into a sealable bag, and a label may be a good idea for identification, especially if you store many herbs in the freezer!
  6. Enjoy your herbs, be proud of them, use them in recipes and enhance the flavour and aroma of the dishes you create. It is very satisfying to know you have grown them yourself and that they are natural, organic and chemical free.
  7. You may also want to look into using herbs for medicinal purposes, they have been used in natural remedies for centuries, for example using lavender to aid sleep. Herbal teas are also very popular these days, for example chamomile tea, peppermint tea etc.

Home Vegetable Gardening – The Importance of Nitrogen For Your Plants

Healthy cell growth and the process of photosynthesis in your home vegetable garden’s plants are two of the many reasons why nitrogen is needed. Without adequate supplies of nitrogen you will be inhibiting both processes and that is not good to produce healthy fruits and veggies.

Due to the volatility of nitrogen, you can easily run short of this important element in no time. Nitrogen can escape in the air and more commonly get washed away when you water your plants too much or receive excessive rain falls.

For these reasons stated above nitrogen needs to be added more often. If you do not have a tester that will give you a reading of nitrogen in the soil, you will easily tell with your eyes when the leaves of the plants start turning yellow and/or brown. Many novice gardeners think, when the leaves are turning color like this, it is due to not enough water. So they water some more and that washes even more nitrogen away making the soil conditions worse.

On the flip side of the argument is having too much nitrogen. Yes you can have too much if you overload your soil with nitrogen rich sources (more on those sources in a few moments). You can tell if you have too much nitrogen if you see a lot of red in the leaves or normally plants that could stand on their own start falling over.

The first thing you should do is invest in an inexpensive soil testing kit that will give the reading of soil’s nitrogen level. When it falls below optimal levels as per the reading on the kit, you can mix into your soil a variety of sources. These sources include blood meal, fish meal, and animal waste such as manure and of course you can grow a “cover crop” of soybeans, alfalfa or clovers which actually put nitrogen back into the soil.

If going organic is not as important to you as it is to others you can pick up nitrogen rich fertilizer at your local home or garden center for under ten bucks. These products work well when the plants are in the ground making it hard to mix in natural sources of nitrogen.

As you can see nitrogen is very important to every home vegetable gardener. Knowing how much your soil has, how much you need to add and the sources for replenishing your soil with nitrogen will go a very long way to increasing the health and harvest of your vegetable plants.