Indoor Herb Garden – Secrets to Growing Herbs Indoors

Article by Dave Dockray

If you live in a flat or unit, with little space for an outdoor herb garden, an indoor herb garden may be just the answer. Or perhaps you would like to grow some of your favourite culinary herbs closer to the kitchen and out of the way of pests and inclement weather.

Can herbs thrive indoors? Certainly. Growing your culinary herbs in an indoor herb garden, in or near the kitchen, is easier than you may think, and provides some advantages over an outdoor herb garden. The same simple rules apply to an indoor herb garden as to growing herbs outdoors.

First it must be remembered that herbs are not indoor plants, and may not give their full fragrance without fresh air and some sunshine during the day. Herbs need sunlight to produce the essential oils that give them their flavour and fragrance.

So the first thing to consider is placement of your indoor herb garden. The sunniest spot, on a windowsill or in a sun room, facing south (in the northern hemisphere) or facing north (in the southern hemisphere) would be ideal, or a porch or balcony. But if your herb plants can’t get at least 5 hours sunlight you can supplement their light needs with a grow light.

To create your indoor herb garden you are going to need a trough or long narrow container, or individual pots that can be mounted on your windowsill. These pots need to be at least 6 inches (150 mm) deep to give the herbs room to stretch their roots, with the bottom of the pot filled with peat or vermiculite to provide good drainage.

Fill with a rich, clean light soil. Never let herbs in pots dry out, but make sure they don’t sit with wet feet either. They also should be fed occasionally with one of the brands of ‘plant pills’ which are available.

Terra cotta ‘strawberry jars’ with several apertures around the sides and top, making spaces for 5 different herbs, are an excellent idea, if there is room in your indoor herb garden area.

What herbs are best to choose? There are plenty of herbs that do well indoors. Most of your favourite culinary herbs, including parsley, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, sweet marjoram, chives, chervil and mint will do well. Basil too will happily live indoors, providing it gets plenty of light. Buy your herbs as healthy young seedlings from a nursery.

Indoor herb garden kits are also available on the Web, and include not only free information, but also come with an assortment of the finest categories of herbs.

Take a moment to learn more about growing herbs indoors. There are many options available, and great deal of enjoyment to come. Get the kids involved as a project.

Dave Dockray is a herb enthusiast. For more great information on Indoor Herb Gardens or indoor herb garden kits visit: http://www.LindWind.com

Dave Dockray is a herb enthusiast.










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How to Dry and Store Your Fresh Garden Herbs

Article by Nova Person

For anyone who wants to make optimal use of their flourishing fresh herb garden, this article will give you a rundown on the different methods of preservation and the best time to harvest those herbs.

When to crop and how to preserve your home-grown herbs has a lot to do with how you intend to use them once they are harvested. If this is your first time growing herbs, then the advice here will help you a plenty. It is all about timing after all and one can’t expect to know everything in the beginning. Growing and taking care of your herbs is an ongoing learning experience. One of the best pieces of advice is to get organized. Thinking a little in advance on how you wish to utilize your harvested herbs will prevent many errors and waste of resources further down the line. Don’t wait until the end of summer to decide what role they will have in your kitchen – planning ahead is key.

A good clue of when to harvest your herb garden, is to watch out for signs of budding flowers. If you can crop them before the flowers blossom it will reserve the plant’s natural oils and retain it’s scent and culinary taste.

Fresh Storage for Herbs

To store herbs in their freshest form, it is best to harvest them as mentioned before – just before the flower’s appear. Bring them inside, either just the leaves or with the stems attached. Before you store them it is good practice to give them a good wash under fresh running water. The purpose of this is to allow your herb to stay fresher for longer. If it is just the leaves you have plucked – place them in a self-sealing plastic bag – such as those you use to put sandwiches in. Another option which is particularly beneficial to herbs with the stem is to store them in a plastic air-locked container with a little fresh water. If this is your preferred option remember to change the water on a daily basis. Then just pop them in the fridge ready to have at hand to add to salads or other dishes.

Freezing Herbs

Choosing to freeze your herbs is a very simple idea and you can store them throughout the winter months when your herb garden is dormant. Prior to storing in the freezer, blanch the herbs and put into a freezer bag, making sure it is airtight to prevent freezer burn. Another handy little trick and great when you want to add fresh herbs to soups or casseroles – is to pre-chop the herbs and add to ice cube trays with water. When you need to use them, just deposit the ice cube into the soup to defrost while cooking.

Drying Herbs

To give a plant a fair chance of surviving the winter, you must never cut it back bare towards the end of summer. Try to harvest for your dry herbs a little earlier in the season to allow enough re-growth. To dry herbs its better to take the stems as well as the leaves. The most common method is to strip down a few of the leaves to enable the bare stems to be grouped together and tied by string or an elastic band. Locate a dry place in your home with no or very little natural sunlight and hang the herbs up by the stem. When the herb has fully dried – normally after a 2 or 3 week period, take them down and strip the remaining leaves. Just as you would buy dried herbs – store them in a glass airtight jar or similar. The stems can be put on the compost heap and will play a part in mulching the remains of your herb garden.

The above methods will ensure you get the most use out of your herbs – so happy harvesting!

Nova Person has become an expert on herb gardening, owing to her 20 years of experience growing herb gardens at home. For anything you need to know about fresh herb garden, go visit http://www.GrowHerbsInfo.com










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10 Herbs to Use to Create a Fragrance Garden

There is nothing quite like walking into your garden and having your senses assaulted by the sweet smells of growing things. Herbs offer an easy way to create a hardy fragrance garden, which can delight your olfactory sense from early spring until well into the fall. An fragrant herbal garden also serves multiple purposes. Not only can you enjoy the sweet fragrances imparted by the herbs; but you can use the herbs for cooking and in craft projects, as well. Following are ten herbs, which you will definitely want to include in an herbal fragrance garden.

1.Catmint (Nepeta faassenii). Make sure that you choose catmint and not catnip. This perennial herb is not as invasive as other mints. Its grayish-green leaves and light purplish-blue flowers are lovely at the front of the border where you can also more easily enjoy its spice-y scent.

2.Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum). You might not think to include anything with the word “garlic” in its name in a fragrance garden; however, the white blooms have a nice rose scent. This easy-to-grow perennial also offers an upright form in the garden, plus you will find yourself using it often in the kitchen.

3.Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia). Lavender is a must for any fragrance garden. This evergreen, perennial shrub is also a traditional cottage garden plant. Its gray-green foliage offers not only contrast in the garden but also imparts a wondrous scent.

4.Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis). This perennial herb has a strong lemon scent. It is also a herb that can be extremely invasive. You will want to control it by planting it in a container and keeping the flowers cut back so it will not wantonly self-seed.

5.Mint (Mentha). I find it hard to imagine any fragrance garden without some variety of mint in it. Due to its invasive properties, you will want to confine your mint to a decorative container. There are numerous varieties of mint from which to choose, dictated only by your individual tastes. Two of my personal favorites for a fragrance garden are pineapple mint (M. suaveolins var. variegate) and eau-de-cologne mint ((Menta x piperita f. citrate).

6.Mother-of-Thyme (Thymus serpyllum). Choose this variety of thyme as a ground cover or to plant between stepping stones so its scent will be released into the air as you walk through your garden.

7.Nasturium (Tropaiolum). This is one of my favorite annuals to grow from seed. (Incidentally, it was also a favorite of Thomas Jefferson’s. It blooms profusely well into the fall after it first begins to bloom in the spring. The flowers have a peppery-perfume-y scent.

8.Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Barely brush against this popular culinary herb, and you will instantly understand why rosemary should have a place in the fragrance garden. This is another herb which will frequently find its way into your kitchen, as well.

9.Scented Geranium (Pelargonium). You can enjoy the summer blooms in colors of pink to lavender; however, the highly-fragrant foliage is an essential element in any fragrance garden. There are also numerous varieties – and scents – from which to choose; e.g., P. crispum (lemon-scented), P. graveolens (rose-scented), and P. tomentosum (peppermint-scented).

10.Sweet Violet (Viola odorata). Violets have been a favorite of gardeners since the time of the ancient greeks. Violets grow in clumps only 6-8 inches tall and prefer partial shade or dappled sun; therefore, you will want to plant them under a bench or at the base of taller plants.

This is just a small selection of the herbs you could choose to incorporate into an fragrant herbal garden. Most herbs are extremely easy to grow and are quite hardy. Do not be afraid to experiment with different herbs, especially those with which you like to cook. You will soon find that you not only have lovely scents wafting across your yard but that you also have a very functional garden, as well.

Written by Dena Bolton

How To Get The Best Taste From Herbs

Article by Sandy Y.

How Much To Use:
Gourmet cookery is achieved when you figure ┬╝ teaspoon dried herbs for each four servings. This the measure for the famous “pinch” of herbs and spices.
How To Use:
Before adding the measured amount of the herb, crush it in the palm of one hand, using the fingertips of your other hand. This permits the speedy release of the flavor.
When To Use:
Here is a secret of culinary chefs: cooked foods are flattered (there include stews, soups, sauce) if you add the selected herbs during the last hour of cooking. Raw foods (such as salad dressing, fruits, vegetables, raw juices) are enhanced if you add the selected herbs as long before serving as possible. Give raw foods plenty of time to “marry” the herbal flavors and become supercharged with wondrous taste.
When Herbs Should Not Be Used:
Be selective. Just one herb course to a meal is sufficient. A meal in which every dish is herb-treated can become a disaster. So even though several herbs do go well together, be sparing.
Which Herbs To Be Used:
Consult the Select-an-Herb Chart to find the appropriate herbs for specific dishes. Of course, the final decision lies with your own taste! Seasoning with herbs is an expressive culinary art. You are the artist. To try a new herb adventure, crush a bit of it. Let it warm in your palm. Sniff it. Taste it. If it is delicate, be adventurously bold. If it is strong and pungent, proceed with caution.
How To Store Herbs:
When you buy a new container of dried herbs, they are supposedly full strength. The longer you keep them on your shelf (it should be room temperature), after you have broken the seal and exposed the, to air, the weaker they become. So keep the lid tightly packed. Buy herbs in small quantities. They do not improve with age. Keep in small, air-tight containers such as jars or cans. Do not expose them to air any longer than necessary. Open only at the moment of using and speedily close tightly. If you open the lid and do not detect any fresh, strong aroma, it means the potency has evaporated and taste-healing powers have likewise been diminished. You would do well to discard the, and replace with a fresh purchase.
How To Avoid Herb Specks In Food:
Flecks of herbs may sometimes add appeal in proffered dishes; other times, they tend to look unappetizing. To have a blear dish that has the flavor of herbs but none of the flecks, prepare an herb packet. Place selected herbs in a little cheesecloth bag and insert it during cooking time. Remove before serving. For raw foods, insert the same bag and let the aroma steep into the dish. Remove before serving.
How To Get “Instant Flavor” From Herbs
So many cooks are hurrying at the last minute. If you have to prepare some speedy dish and time precludes long steeping of herbs, here’s a gourmet trick to bring out “instant flavor” from herbs. Select the desired herb and let stand in a few drops of water (or oil or a drop of milk) about 30 to 45 minutes. The herbs must not float in this liquid but merely be dampened! Drain before using. This releases the flavor and it has an instantaneous reaction in the foods being “herb kissed.” For even faster reaction, for a “Jet Herb Flavor” tip, tie the selected herbs in a little cloth packet. Plunge into boiling hot water for five seconds, then dip into ice-cold water for another five seconds. Shake off excess water and then use.

Healthy Low Carb Diabetic Recipes

Sandy Y. is an enthusiast in sharing healthy living with simple guide on food. She is a firm believer in having the correct food and healthy lifestyle, this will lead to a complete world of happiness.

She maintains her site at: http://www.lowcarbdiabeticdiet.com
Read her blog at: http://www.lowcarbdiabeticdiet.com/blog










Ayurveda, Getting to Know New Herbs

Ayurveda is the science of life. It is a living science that perceives the human person as a whole being which can neither be cut up into parts to be treated irrespective of the others, nor abstracted from the whole of its context, the land and world in which it lives. Each land is different, bearing different plants and fruit, being composed of different minerals, and having different climates. Ayurveda seeks to understand and to utilize the local and broader contexts in an appropriate and holistic way that treats the individual not simply as a whole human being, but as a human being within a whole, within the nature which provides it life. Due to Ayurveda’s origin in the Asian sub-continent it has first sought to understand and to utilize the herbs of its locale. However, as the world grows smaller and smaller through the process of globalization and knowledge of Ayurveda spreads, the science of life is broadening its purview to herbs all over the world, and enabling itself to appropriately treat individuals from all regions.

Ayurvedic medicine utilizes a thorough methodology to learn about the nature and effects of new herbs thatis based a fairly simple set of principles. Starting from the most basic and apparent qualities and proceeding to the more subtle and more complex effects, ayurvedic medicine comes to understand herbs in a natural and comprehensive way.

Ayurvedic herbs are classified according to five basic characteristics. The first and most fundamental determination of any herb is its taste and energy, collectively this set of characteristics is known as the energetics of an ayurvedic herb. There are six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent. Each taste has a certain energy, effect, and quality from a group of six contraries.  Thus, every ayurvedic herb is either heating or cooling in energy, drying or moistening in effect, and heavy or light in quality. Often herbs bear several or nearly all tastes and so have very complex energetics, but more often than not there is a primary taste which characterizes the herb. After determining the primary taste, the primary energy is determined, and then the post-digestive effect, or vipraka. This will often further determine the next characteristic of the herb, or its doshic effect.

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Ayurvedic medicine understands the world and everything in it according to the five basic elements, and the doshas are the particular combination and manifestation of these fiveelements within the human being. Consequently, ayurvedic treatments are principally concerned with restoring balance to the doshas of the body through the use of herbs and minerals which likewise share in the universal qualities of the doshas and so can affect them within the body. The doshic effects of herbs is determined by the three-fold determination of its energetics, and are further qualified by the herbs effects on particular tissues which each have a special relationship with the threedoshas.

The third tier of determination of the nature of ayurvedic herbs are the tissues which it predominantly affects. Even though a particular combination of taste, energy and post-digestive effect will inherently have an effect on a particular dosha, these effects can be modified greatly according to the tissue which the herb works on. Each organ and tissue of the body is primarily governed by a particular dosha, and consequently, doshic imbalance often stems from a particular organ or tissue. Therefore, the part of the body which ayurvedicherbs treat will significantly determine the manner in which its energetics affect the body. Furthermore, the particular organs or tissues which are effected will in part determine the bodily systems which are affected, which is the next tier of classification by which ayurvedic medicine understands the nature of herbs.

By bearing the aforementioned qualities and affecting various tissues in certain ways, ayurvedic herbs each effect a certain number of bodily systems, be it circulatory, respiratory, nervous, digestive etc. Ayurvedic herbs predominantly affect certain parts of the body in certain ways and this naturally renders certain bodily systems affected in similar ways. The determination of the particular systems affected is the final classification of the general qualities of an herb, however, through its combination with the former determinations is found the most specific and most practical classification, the actions of the herb.

The actions of ayurvedic herbs are determined through a synthesis of the four previous qualities and effects. Ayurvedic herbs act in various ways, for example, they can be a stimulant, an expectorant, a diuretic, an emetic, a carminative, an emenagogue etc. The determination of the actions of an herb is the culmination of the previous analysis and one of the most important determinations taken into account in the formulation of any ayurvedic product. The actions indicate how and what an herb will do to the body, and so are of utmost importance to consider in any prescription.

Through this method ayurvedic medicine has taken hundreds and thousands of herbs under its wing to include them in the economy of health which it aims to provide to all mankind. Although, ayurvedic herbs once just included those indigenous to the Asian sub-continent, ayurveda is now growing , exploring, and coming to know new herbs from all over the world. What once might have just been a common weed in the American southwest, is now also an ayurvedic herb, and is brought into the family of this ancient and living science of life.

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