Herbs are great plants to grow in your garden or home. They add flavor to food and leave your home smelling great. Growing your own herbs can be a bit stressful for new gardeners but the truth is some herbs are so easy to grow they make the perfect plants for beginner and not so green thumb gardeners. These are some of the easiest herbs to grow.
Chives are a great herb for even the newest of gardeners. This hardy plant can hold up well if forgotten for a while. You can choose onion or garlic varieties to accent your cooking or grow both. The delicate flowers add a great pop of color for this grassy herb.
Mint is a favorite herb for new gardeners. It holds up well as part of your potted herb garden out outside. Mint thrives even if you forget to water it from to time and is perfect for cooling summer drinks and sweet desserts.
Basil is a great herb when you need an easy to grow plant for your collection. Basil can grow well in the garden or a sunny window and is very versatile in the kitchen. Basil comes in a large variety of flavors allowing you to customize your garden to fit your needs.
Rosemary is an easy to grow herb that leaves a fresh scent. It can grow well potted making it a great option for adding a delicate grassy green to your potted herb garden. Rosemary is very useful in the kitchen for savory dishes. If you are a less than mindful gardener this herb will do just fine with a bit of neglect.
Scented Geraniums make a great option for growing at home. Scented Geraniums come in a variety of scents in everything from floral to chocolate. Choose a variety that will accent your space and help build the beautiful herb garden of your dreams.
“Burpee Home Gardens presents “Garden Fresh” – an insightful yet fun vegetable gardening guide that answers your questions on everything from what to grow, to how much and when. This companion offers ideas, inspirations, and the support you need to explore – and succeed at – the world of home vegetable gardening.”
Click here to order you free vegetable garden guide from Burpee!
When you put all that hard work into your garden it can be really depressing to watch the fruits of your labor rot away. With some planning and a bit of work, you can preserve your garden harvest and have fresh from your garden fruits and veggies all year long. These three easy ways to preserve the food in your garden will do the trick.
Three Easy Ways to Preserve the Food From Your Garden
Freezing to preserve your garden
Freezing the produce from your garden is the easiest way to preserve your harvest. Wash your fresh produce and lay it out in a single layer on a cookie sheet in your freezer. This will allow each piece to freeze individually making it easier to get the produce from the freezer bags that you will place them in after the initial cookie sheet freeze. A great way to save time later is to prep your fruits for your favorite smoothies and freeze in single serving packs. Chop your veggies for soups and stews, freezing them together and label well so you can grab and go for a meal on a busy weekday. A food saver is a great way to prevent freezer burn and make your frozen produce last longer.
Drying to preserve your garden
Drying produce takes up less space than the other popular preserving options. when drying your fruits and veggies you are taking out the water and much of the bulk of the food. A good dehydrator is a great way to make your food last longer, make treats for your family, and prep for long term storage. Fruits make a great snack dehydrated while veggies reconstruct better for soups and stews than eating as a side dish. It is vital you are sure all water is out before storing. To check this, place in a plastic baggy and let it cool. If there is condensation in the bag, your food is not ready to store.
Canning to preserve your garden
Canning is one of the most traditional ways to preserve food from your garden. While it takes up more space than drying, canned foods have a longer shelf life than frozen foods. Many of us have fond childhood memories of watching our grandmothers can produce from the garden but never really thought about doing it ourselves. The good news is, canning is easy to start, inexpensive and costs less with each round you do when you reuse the glass jars over and over. Quality jars are a great investment.
Which method should I use to preserve my garden?
When choosing which preservation method you must consider:
- Space you have for storage.
- What the end use of the food will be.
- How long you need to store the food.
- Supplies you have on hand.
Protecting your food storage from pests and environmental issues is vital to make preserving your garden worth your time and money. Make sure all stored food is air tight and sealed in rodent-proof containers. For most families, combining these methods of food storage gets the best results across the board and leads to more stability. Canning fruits and veggies so they are ready to go, freezing produce prepped for meals, and drying fruits and meats for snacking is a great way to balance it out.
Garden season is off to a strong start! If you planted any herbs this year, you may already be seeing an abundance of the tasty things since they can grow with a vengeance. Wondering what you can do with all the herbs you have without letting them go to waste? This post should definitely help you decide what to do with them!
Using herbs in your home is a wonderful way to incorporate not only the beauty they provide but the health benefits. You can use them for so many things. From making potpourri and sachets to making herbal remedies and of course cooking.
If you are new to using them and need a little help, here are 10 tips to help you dry and store herbs that will make it easier on you and help prevent you from ending up with non-usable product.
But first, here’s the two step process to get your herbs ready for drying:
Step 1: Gather your herbs. The best time to do this, is in the morning before the sun is shining on them. It’s also best to pick the herbs before the plants start to flower.
Step 2: Wash your herbs and pat them dry with a towel. Or, if your herbs look pretty clean, you can just shake them gently to get rid of any dust or dirt. At this point, you can also pick off any leaves that are yellowed, spotted, or discolored.
Now on to the tips:
1. Find a nice, dark place to dry them.
They will need good ventilation and air, but if they are exposed to too much light, it will dry them out too quickly and they can become too brittle and fall apart too fast on you. You can use a fan on a low setting or put them near the air conditioning vent for the ventilation, but just not in a window. Another suggestion for location is to place them in an attic type space if you have it. The top of the refrigerator works too, if you are limited on space and just drying a few. Or on the top of a water heater. Those closets make a good ventilated place most of the time.
2. If possible, use drying screens to lay them on.
The screens will catch the smaller, loose pieces if they lose any and they get good air flow from both sides this way, which is ideal. Using the screens for thicker herbs, like rosemary that are more woody in nature, is perfect.
3. Hang them upside down, in bunches
Hanging them upside down, in bunches is another alternative to the flat screens. Use a rubber band around the stems and keep the bunches fairly small. The thicker they are, the longer they will take to totally dry. The ones in the center can still be damp, even when the ones on the outside look fully dried. Thicker herbs, like lavender for example, can take a couple of weeks to totally dry.
4. Using an oven to dry them will speed the process.
Put them on a baking sheet type of tray and set the temperature as low as your oven will go. You will need to move them and turn them every so often to keep them drying evenly, so the best way is to set the timer for about 30-40 minutes and then flip them when it goes off. Repeat until you feel they are dry enough, which may take up to 6 hours, but could be done in 3.
5. Plant them early.
If you are growing your own herbs and are able, plant them so they can be harvested in the summer time. So, early spring. The flavor will be better than in winter, according to avid gardeners.
6. When storing them, avoid letting them get dusty.
One way to do this is to use a paper bag hanging over them, when they are in bunches, with the stems poking out of one end. Or if they are loose, use a thinner weight cardboard box, and punch holes in it. Cut flaps in the sides to help air flow and ventilation but folded in enough to cover and keep off the dust particles.
7. Use airtight containers.
For storing your herbs, you can use airtight containers, like glass jars with seals, similar to a mason jar or ones that have the locking lid and rubber seals. Make sure the containers are very clean and sterile. Any other chemical residue can contaminate the herbs and affect their scent and health benefits.
8. Freeze them.
You can also freeze herbs as an option for storage instead of glass jars. Use Ziploc bags that have a tight seal, and be sure to push out all the air before sealing them tight.
9. Storing for culinary use.
For herbs that are for cooking and culinary uses, crush the herbs well before storing. For herbs that will be used for teas, use the whole leaf and any blooms and do not crush them.
10. Create flavoured oils
You can keep herbs well when storing them in an oil base. If you place them in a glass jar that has a good seal, cover them totally in olive oil and keep them stored in a dark place. They will infuse the oil, flavoring it and giving it their benefits too.
I’m pretty certain that these tips will help you use up your abundance of herbs that you will see this year. I’d love to know how you use your herbs that you grow. Let me know in the comments!
Spring is well under way which means it’s time to get those gardens planted! There are so many great reasons for planting a garden. Whether it be for fresh produce, exercise, or even just a way to pass the time peacefully. If you have never planted a garden before, there is no better time to start than now. To motivate you, consider these 20 reasons to plant a garden, so you can see everything that growing a fresh garden can provide! Believe me when I say it provides so much more than just fresh tomatoes! Here is what you need to know:
20 Reasons to Plant a Garden
1. You can enjoy chemical free food.
When you grow a garden, you can enjoy produce that is grown without chemicals or pesticides. It is a great way to know what is in your food so you can enjoy safe and natural food choices.
2. You know where your food comes from.
Do you really know where your food comes from when you buy it from a market? When you garden, you know exactly where it comes from because you grow it and pick it yourself.
3. Children will enjoy assisting with gardening tasks.
Children love digging in the dirt, and will enjoy helping you with your gardening tasks. They can pull weeds, plant seeds, and even help pick the harvest when you have a backyard garden.
Related: Make this Milk Jug Watering Can that the kids are sure to enjoy!
4. Your meals will be made with the freshest produce around.
Do you love fresh soups and salads? When you grow your own garden, you will have the freshest produce choices around. Enjoy fresh recipes each night thanks to your garden. Who wouldn’t love that?
5. Gardens bring about beautiful wildlife.
You will notice that gardens bring all sorts of wildlife to the yard. This means hummingbirds and butterflies especially. It is fun seeing all the colors, sights, and sounds come to your yard as they investigate your plantings and take sips from your plants.
6. Gardens provide a chance to meet your neighbors.
When you grow a garden, you spend more time outdoors. This might mean being more visible to your neighbors and striking up a conversation or two. You might even find another neighbor who gardens, and get the chance to trade produce or plant starts.
7. You can assist people in need with your produce.
Chances are you will grow more produce than you need. You can always donate your extra produce to local soup kitchens or shelters where they can serve it to people in need.
8. Gardening tasks provide exercise.
Digging, weeding, watering, and planting can all provide some amazing exercise. If you need to be more physically active, gardening is a great way to do it.
9. Gardening provides quiet time for reflection.
Many gardeners love planting a garden because it provides them some time for reflection and meditation. If you need a little down time in your life, gardening may provide the perfect opportunity.
10. Gardening provides a chance to learn something new about nature.
When you grow a garden, it gives you the chance to learn new things about the plants you are growing. We are never too old to learn, and gardening gives the opportunity to let that happen!
11. You can enjoy active and fun gardening communities.
Online, you will find many active gardening groups, where gardeners exchange tips and tricks of the trade. You might also find local gardening groups, perfect for making friends and learning more.
12. You will always have fresh flowers for your home.
Enjoy fresh flowers in every room of your house when you grow a garden. Picking your own flowers each day will be fun and add so much color to your décor.
13. Gardening provides inexpensive gifts for family and friends.
Gardens provide the materials you need to make homemade jams, salsa, and so many other homemade gifts. This is a great way to provide inexpensive gifts for family and friends.
14. Gardening provides aromatherapy.
The smells of a garden can help you feel more relaxed and at ease. Forget lighting a candle for aromatherapy, just go to the garden.
15. Gardening is inexpensive.
You don’t need to be rich to plant a garden. Most of the items you need can be found around the house or even at your local dollar store. Seeds, soil, and pots can be found for cheap, which means you can grow so much food for less.
16. You can save money on your weekly grocery bill.
When you grow your own food, you will be saving heaps of money on your weekly grocery bill. You can grow items like tomatoes and cucumbers at pennies per pound, which is way less than most markets.
17. A garden can be an extension of your home.
A garden can feel like another room of your home. Place a small bistro table and chair in your garden so you can enjoy dinner or drinks in it.
18. Fresh food can be grown well into the Fall months.
Some plants can thrive well into the cool months. This means eating fresh and saving money even as winter approaches.
19. Gardens add curb appeal.
A garden can make your landscaping look nicer and add some curb appeal to those passing by.
20. Gardening helps the planet.
Flowers in your garden can help bees and butterflies pollinate our planet and keep it looking lush and beautiful!
Are you inspired to get growing? Consider these 20 reasons for growing a garden and start harvesting your own produce and reap the health benefits too!