Herbs – How, where and why to grow them! – Pinetree Garden Seeds

For more information on herbs, how to grow them and their uses, we suggest picking up The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader’s Digest.

l502_the_complete_illustrated_book_of_herbs

Cultivating herbs is something practiced by people from many different walks of life, whether it be for cooking, medicinal or cosmetic purposes. Using herbs to make teas, flavor cooked meats and veggies, as an addition to soups and sauces, and as fragrances in many different bath items, lotions, candles and oils are all very common practices. Some of the lesser known uses are medicinal, which can be used as an alternative to some modern day remedies.

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Growing herbs as a collective group is relatively easy and convenient. Basil, oregano and fennel are a good group for Italian cooking purposes; lavender and lemon verbena are great for fragrance uses such as potpurri; and chamomile, peppermint and mint are wonderful for making tea. A lot of herbs grow very effectively in one large group in either your garden or a large container, but be sure to read the seed packets of what you are planting. Some herbs require more watering than others, and it is best not to plant them with herbs that require dry conditions.

Growing conditions vary with different herbs. A lot of herbs used commonly in North America, such as lavender, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, dill and oregano, are actually native to the Mediterranean region. These herbs grow best in bright sunlight with excellent drainage and moderate temperatures. As a general rule, plant herbs in organic material that is made for encouraging good drainage, such as potting mix. Stay away from potting soil and garden soil, as they tend to compact too much and create drainage issues. These plants require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day, and be sure to use fertilizer sparingly. Too much nitrogen can decrease the concentration of essential oils in the plant, so a liquid seaweed or compost tea are better alternatives, used sparingly.

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Herbs and container gardening are a match made in heaven, making it easy for anyone to grow fresh herbs with the right conditions. The general rule of thumb is that the more you pick, the more the plant will produce. Be sure not to let any buds on the plant flower, as flowering can change the taste of the herb. Leafy herbs should be harvested when flower buds first appear, by removing the leaves and stems with a sharp knife. Be sure to leave at least 4-6 inches of growth on the plant to encourage new growth.

We’ve compiled a list of commonly used herbs, and outlined some information on their uses and growing requirements.

BASIL
Has calming properties, aids in detoxing your liver, has a strong flavor that is wonderful in italian dishes
Sensitive to cold, deer resistant, easy to grow
Requires partial to full sun, grows to about 1-3 feet tall and wide

BASIL

CATNIP
Packed with vitamins C & E, used as a mild sedative and sleep inducer, fragrant, appealing treat for cats dried and fresh
Spreads quickly, easy to grow, drought tolerant, attracts butterflies
Requires partial to full sun, grows to 2 feet tall by 18 inches wide

catnip

CHAMOMILE
Aids in digestion, anti-inflammatory, fragrant and soothing tea
Good ground cover, butterfly attractor, deer resistant, easy to grow
Requires partial to full sun, grows 6-24 inches tall by 3-18 inches wide

CHAMOMILE

CHIVES
Immune booster, lowers risk of cancer, attracts butterflies, strong flavor
Grows both indoors and outdoors, versatile & easy growing, will continue to grow through winter in a container
Requires partial to full sun, grows 8-18 inches tall by 8-12 inches wide

CHIVES

CILANTRO
Good source of fiber & iron, helps to clear unneeded heavy metals from your bloodstream, can use every part of plant for flavoring
Fast growing, self sowing (seeds drop off and may produce second crop), attracts birds & butterflies, good fresh or dried
Requires partial to full sun, grows 5-24 inches tall by 4-10 inches wide

CILANTRO

DILL
Rich in antioxidants, helps to cure hiccups, attractive flowers to fill garden beds, attracts beneficial insects to your garden, strong flavoring
Requires full sun, grows 1-3 feet tall by 1.5-2 feet wide

DILL

LAVENDER
Encourages relaxation by lowering heart rate & blood pressure, soothes itchy skin, fights dandruff, reduces bloating, strong fragrance for use in essential oils, strong cooking flavor
Drought, heat & wind tolerant, needs proper drainage
Requires full sun, grows 1-3 feet wide and tall; violet, lavender or white in color

LAVENDER

LEMON VERBENA
Soothes upset stomach, reduces fever, strong lemon flavor and scent
Brew sun tea from the leaves, add to granulated sugar for distinct lemon flavor (strain out leaves before use). Harvest leaves by processing 2 cups of leaves with 1/2-1 cup of sugar in food processor until it forms a paste. Freeze paste in a thin layer, break off what is need to sprinkle over fruit, desserts or in tea.
Requires partial to full sun, grows to 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide maximum

LEMON VERBENA

MARJORAM
Treats anxiety, sleep aide, strong flavor blends nicely with beans, eggs, cheese & tomatoes
Easy to grow, deer resistant, strong sweet/spicy flavor
Requires partial to full sun, grows 12-18 inches tall by 12-18 inches wide

MARJORAM

MINT
Rich in vitamin A, aides digestion, soothes nausea & headaches
Resilient, quick and attractive ground cover, tolerates wet soil, great tea additive
Requires partial to full sun, grows 1-4 feet tall by 1-4 fee wide

mint

OREGANO
Relieves headache & nausea, reduces pain & swelling, strong flavor
Easy growing, flavor does not dissipate when dried, does very well planted in a container with rosemary, sage & thyme
Requires full sun, grows 1-2 feet tall by 2-4 feet wide

OREGANO

PARSLEY
Aides in digestion, rich in vitamins A, C & K, strong flavor for cooking
Low to no maintenance, quick growing, thrives in both beds and containers, attractive filler
Requires full sun, grows 8-24 inches tall by 8-24 inches wide

PARSLEY

ROSEMARY
Improves memory, helps fight cancer, strong fragrance and flavor
Likes a hot, dry footing, thrives in containers
Requires full sun, grows 1-6 feet tall by 2-4 feet wide

rosemary

SAGE
Rich in antioxidants, natural antiseptic, fights aging, anxiety & fatigue remedy, natural insect repellent
Fast growing & attractive filler, great in cooking, cosmetics, perfumes & soaps. Burning sage also removes unpleasant odors such as cigarette smoke and fish smells
Requires partial to full sun, grows 12-24 inches tall by 24-36 inches wide

SAGE

SAVORY
Aids digestion, treats sore throat, relieves insect bites, spicy flavor
Easy growing, strong fragrance, good compliment to many other herbs
Requires full sun, grows 6-16 inches tall by 6-12 inches wide

SAVORY

STEVIA
Healthy and chemical-free alternative to sugar
Thrives indoors and in containers
Requires full sun, grows up to 30 inches tall by 18 inches wide

STEVIA

TARRAGON
Mainly used in cooking, very strong and sweet flavor
Easy and quick to grow, thrives inside, requires strong light
Requires partial to full sun, grows up to 1-5 feet tall by 1-2 feet wide

TARRAGON

THYME
Natural hangover remedy, helps relieve respiratory issues, antiseptic, strong fragrance, great as essential oil
Attracts honey bees, desires very dry enviroment
Requires full sun, grows 3-12 inches tall by 18 inches wide

Thymus vulgaris; Thyme; English Thyme; Common Thyme

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