Sunday

Growing Herbs - A Natural Way to Go Green

Going green is the latest trend, and thank heavens, but herb gardeners have been doing it for ages. What better way to stay healthy, season your food, decorate your home, deal with pests, and treat your minor ailments than with home grown herbs.

Growing Herbs is a Natural way to Begin a Greener Lifestyle

Growing herbs is a great start on becoming a gardener and an environmentalist. Herbs generally prefer poor soil, are natural pest repellents, require little special handling, and give you fragrance, flavor, and often other benefits in return for your trouble.

Going green isn't just a movement or a marketing slogan; it's an attitude about nature and your place in it. Gardeners know what I mean. Once you've started a garden, you begin to respect nature in new ways. Going green is the next logical step in getting reacquainted with the earth and becoming an earth advocate.

If you really want to go green, start by planting a spring garden. You can easily grow organic vegetables for your table and herbs to use as seasonings. Many of the herbs you plant will also help to keep pests away from other plants in your garden, like rue and garlic to keep Japanese beetles away from your roses. This will cut back or eliminate your need for pesticides.

The produce and herbs you grow will be natural, and your efforts will have borne a harvest for your table that didn’t rely on fossil fuels to transport or plastics to package for market.

Get Your Children Involved in Nature

Give your children a reason to love playing in the dirt. At the end of the season, they can gather seeds for next year's crop, label, and set them aside in a cool, dark place. The simple act of tending the garden and gathering seeds will teach them more about environmentalism than a binder full of pamphlets.

As you enjoy your successes, the idea of composting and other recycling measures will become more inviting, and before you know it, you will be looking for the recycling symbol on your purchases and following the latest legislation with new interest.

Begin With a Simple Herb and Vegetable Garden

Start with what they used to call a 'kitchen garden', a garden of plants for your own culinary and medicinal use. Try planting dill to season your fish, basil and oregano to spice up your prepared pasta and pizza sauces, hot peppers for your tacos and burritos, and plum tomatoes for your own pico de gayo (fresh salsa). For stomach upsets, plant a little peppermint and ginger for tea.

Pay particular attention to the instructions on the plants or seed packets you buy. Although herbs are pretty forgiving of poor soil, they do need good drainage. If you know that your soil is heavy clay, add sand and organic material to loosen it up. You can even use coffee grounds and crushed egg shells to help prepare your soil.

While you are reading the labels on your plants or seeds, make a note of how high the plants will grow, how far apart to plant them, and how much sun they will need. Watch the spot in your garden where you are planning your herb patch, and make a drawing on a scratch pad of where the sunniest and shadiest spots are located. Sketch out your plant arrangement, placing the sun loving plants in the sunniest spots in your herb patch, taller plants toward the back. Give them plenty of room to spread out.

A little forethought and an afternoon's work will give you a great start on your own kitchen garden, and that's a very green thing to do.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with this all the way. My nieces saw me gardening one time. Now they volunteer in watering the plants and spraying the plants with soil. They find it so thrilling that they ask me if it's time to garden even when it's just 2 PM!

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  2. Chris,

    I'm so glad you said that. I've always found that kids really bring energy, curiosity and great questions to their gardening explorations.

    It's harder to get things done with them around, but they make everything new again. . . in a good way.

    Sara

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