4 Simple Steps to Planting Your Own Kitchen Herb Garden (& What It’s Going to Do For Your Health!)
by Julia McIntosh
Buying little clam-shell containers of fresh herbs at the grocery store for $3 apiece? Too much. Not using them all and finding they go bad in your fridge? Wasteful. Opting not to use fresh herbs in your cooking at all? Missing out on tons of nutritional and flavor punch! The simple solution to this financial/culinary/health conundrum? Growing our own fresh herbs right in our homes, of course!
In 4 very simple steps, I will show you how to get your favourite herbs planted and growing in no time. We’ll also learn just how beneficial plenty of herbs in our diets on a regular basis is to our health and enjoyment of fresh, whole, delicious foods. Ready to get growing?
Supplies You’ll Need
- Small to medium sized pot, depending how many herbs you would like to grow (medium depth is ideal, all materials work) *note: ensure that your pot either has drainage holes in the bottom, or create drainage with a layer of small pebbles or stones on the bottom
- Soil (buy a mixture of potting soil from you local garden store, to ensure proper moisture retention) *note: do not use soil directly from the ground in pots, it dries out extremely fast and plants will not grow
- Seeds/seedlings (choose a variety of your favourites) *note: some herbs tend to grow better from a seedling than from seed
Steps to Plant Your Herb Garden in a Pot:
- Choose herbs that you and your family like the most. A good basic variety could include parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, dill, mint, cilantro, etc. Seeds are available at some grocery stores, garden stores, or through seed catalogues and online.
- Fill your pot with potting soil (and drainage if necessary) and moisten slightly with water.
- Plant seeds in your pot, according to package instructions for specific herbs. Most will simply need to be pushed slightly into the soil and covered with a shallow layer of topsoil. Water thoroughly.
- Place your pot somewhere warm and sunny inside, for the colder months, until frost passes outside. Then place the pot outside in the warm sun, in late April or early May in Ontario, depending on where you live and the weather. Take extra care that the soil is kept moist enough during the first months while inside – not soaked, but not dried out either.
Once the herbs start sprouting up and growing, harvest with scissors or your hands, and use frequently in your cooking, salads, beverages, and more!
Fresh Herbs for Your Health!
The fresh, green leaves of herbs provide a boost of chlorophyll (i.e. oxygen!) to our food, which in our bodies, helps cells to regenerate and function at their disease-fighting best.
Fresh herbs add fantastic flavor to your cooking – not to mention that they are free when from your own garden. I promise, this will inspire you greatly to experiment in the kitchen, making everything taste more flavourful, delicious, and fresh.
Once you get the hang of growing your own herbs, other leafy greens are just as simple to grow in pots and with limited space. Mixed leafy greens, lettuces, and sprouts, anyone? Leafy greens provide our bodies with a fantastic array of essential nutrients – including calcium, vitamins A, K, and C, as well as quality plant protein and fibre. Having these foods fresh from your garden provides no excuse not to eat them on an everyday basis, and also gives you the maximum amount of nutrition possible from the food, with no worry of how it has been grown or what sprays/chemicals have come in contact with your food.
Gardening is soothing to your nervous system and reduces stress – while saving you money and boosting your nutrition!
My Favourite Uses for Fresh Herbs
- Basil in pestos and fresh sauces, dips
- Mint steeped in hot water as a digestive tea
- Parsley added to any grainy salad, or as a green in juices and smoothies
- Oregano & Thyme in warm autumn and winter soups (think squash, bean, sweet potato, celery root, etc.)
- Rosemary with roasted root vegetables or other hearty winter dishes
This small step, planting some seeds and tending them, can start a waterfall effect of healthy changes and choices in your life. I’m replanting my herb garden today – a snowy February afternoon – will you join me as I learn the ropes of how to live a more sustainable lifestyle using wild plants and healthy homesteading habits.
About Julia McIntosh
Julia is one of the participants on our Healthy Homesteading course! She’s delighted to be sharing her homesteading wisdom and experience with us on the blog as she progresses on this course. To learn more about the Healthy Homesteader course, or learn about how to use Herbs for Women’s Health, please visit our Women’s Wellness University courses and register today for a program that will help you live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
Tags: healthy homesteading, herb garden, herbs for women's health, indoor gardening
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