Organic Herb Gardening

organic herb gardening

Herb Gardening is a great way to start your organic vegetable gardening experience (they're easy!). Once you starting picking your herbs straight from the garden, as you need them, there will be no going back.

Organic Herb Gardening is a must as Herbs are wonderful for so many reasons.

Why grow herbs?

Herbs are great to add to your cooking, they provide health benefits when you need an immune boost and you can also dry them for later use.

So let's get to some tips to make your organic herb gardening a breeze.

  • If you can, keep your herb garden close to your kitchen for easy access.

  • Plant these herbs in a pot as they are invasive and will take over your herb garden: Mint (including Peppermint and Spearmint), Pennyroyal, Comfrey, Bee Balm and Lemon Balm.

  • You can have a separate herb garden or include your herbs in your veggie patch or anywhere in your garden. Herbs grow great in containers and are perfect for Patio Gardens

  • Use herbs for Companion Planting to keep bad bugs away from your veggies and to attract the good bugs

  • Only plant the herbs you are going to use - and you usually only need one plant of each. I had a pineapple sage in my garden and didn't use it all at. I have two parsley bushes and can't keep up with one. Do your planning before purchasing.

  • Some herbs have several varieties so choose carefully. I find the flat leaf parsley more versatile than the curly leaf variety. There are many varieties of basil plants, they vary in color and flavor. To find the variety best suited for you have a look at this website on Basil Plants

How do I look after them?

With the exception of a few varieties like basil, ginger, lemongrass and coriander, most herbs prefer slightly alkaline soils. Use organic matter such as garden compost leaf mould, and seaweed to fertilize your herb garden. Dig into your soil or apply as a mulch.

Herbs like to be used! If you aren’t picking them regularly then give them a light prune to keep fresh growth.

If you don’t have much room, do your organic herb gardening on your windowsill. This is a great idea for every kitchen as it keeps your favorite herbs close by.

Annual or Perennial?

Some herbs will re-seed themselves, others need replanting yearly. Frost may affect some of your herbs.

This is what happened in my herb garden this year: Frost got my basil and coriander. The last frost (was a bad one) got my sage. Now that it's Spring the coriander and sage are growing back. My Rosemary, Thyme, Chives and Italian Parsley continued to grow throughout the winter no problems. Every garden is unique!

Now they’re all grown up, what do I do with them?

Herbs are very versatile but if you’re new to fresh herbs it can be a bit tricky to know what dishes to use them in.

I have a page for ideas on how to

Herbs like to be used! If you aren’t picking them regularly then give them a light prune to keep fresh growth.

If you don’t have much room, do your organic herb gardening on your windowsill. This is a great idea for every kitchen as it keeps your favorite herbs close by.

Can I store my herbs?

Yes, most herbs can be dried or frozen. A pesto is a great way to keep some basil for your Italian dishes when your basil plant has died off.

To dry herbs: place clean and dry sprigs of herbs on a baking tray and put into the oven on the lowest setting until the herbs are dry and brittle to touch. This could take up to 12 hrs. Put the leaves only into airtight containers.

Tie small bunches of herbs with string and hang in a warm dry and airy place. It will take up to 2 weeks to dry, then put the leaves only into airtight containers.

You can also use a food dryer or the microwave (I don't like the idea of zapping my precious herbs in the microwave, although they can be ready in 4 minutes!)

To freeze herbs: wash, chop and place in an ice cube tray, cover with a bit of water and freeze. When you want to use them put the ice block straight into your cooking.

Sprays of fresh herbs can be wrapped and frozen for several weeks.

Note: Use a bit less of your frozen herbs than you would fresh as the freezing can make them a bit bitter.

Herb Butter: Finely chop herbs and add to butter. Spread the butter on a tray and put in the fridge to harden. Cut the butter into cubes and freeze. Use the herb butter on bread rolls or barbecued meat.

Herb Tips

When using fresh herbs instead of dried herbs in a recipe: use 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs for every 1 teaspoon of dried herb mentioned in the recipe.

To release the flavour of whole leaves, crush them in your hands before adding to the cooking.

Need a boost?

Herbs in a teapot! Steep 2-3 teaspoons fresh or 1-2 teaspoons dried herbs such as chamomile, mint, marjoram, borage or scented geranium for each cup of hot water. These teas are refreshing hot or cold. For a healthy sugar-free substitute, use the herb Stevia to sweeten your tea.

Herbs can be used as part of your health regime. They are full of vitamins and minerals and make great teas and tonics. Some herbs should not be taken while pregnant or breastfeeding.

I hope you enjoy your Organic Herb Gardening as much as I do!

"I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden." ~John Erskine

Take me from Organic Herb Gardening to the Organic Vegetable Gardening Home Page

Welcome to the Organic Veggie Patch :)

Organic Veggie Patch on Facebook

Veggie Patch E-Zine

Organic Veggie Patch Ezine

Join our Ezine for lots of great hints and tips delivered direct to your inbox!

Share with us

We'd love to see what's happening in your garden this week

Do you have a question or any great vegetable garden tips to share?

Some pages you may enjoy

Raised Bed Gardening - There are many benefits to adding some Raised Garden Beds to your garden.

Gardening with Kids - The kids can have fun in the garden too. My Gardening with Kids page has lots of fun links - Flower Pot Crafts, Coloring Pages, Word Search Games and ideas of how the kids can help in the garden.

Enjoy your Garden