Herbs are a lovely, natural and healthy addition to any meal, a real taste enhancer. If you’re going to buy herbs from the supermarket, you’re adding up to an extra $2.78 for a tiny bunch of fresh herbs for your meal.
That may not seem like a lot of money, but let’s say you have two bunches of herbs, that’s $5.56 per week, $22.24 per month, $266.88 per year you could save by growing your own. Every little saving counts, right!?
For me, the biggest benefit is not just the cost … but the convenience. At a moments notice, I can grab a handful of my herb of choice. It’s too easy. At dinner time, my husband always compliments my dinners when I have included fresh herbs … they add lovely flavour, and look excellent as a garnish.
The Herbs to Choose
I’m not a green thumb. I find some herbs hard to grow, and some easy to grow. I like the ones that take absolutely no effort whatsoever and last for ages.
There is nothing pretty about my herb garden in winter, it is purely functional. Even with only a few small herbs, I can compliment most meals from my backyard.
Some of my favourite hardy herbs include:
- Garlic Chives (hardier than normal chives)
- Parsley (all styles)
Caring for your Herbs
Herbs need sunlight, good drainage and regular watering in dry weather. Mulch the soil around the herbs, but not near the stems. When planting in pots, use a good quality potting mix and water crystals. A weak serve of seaweed solution can help as well. Avoid using chemicals. For the herbs listed above, I generally follow these rules to set up the herbs, and then they get very little attention thereafter.
One disadvantage of buying herbs is you usually only need a tablespoon per meal, so there’s plenty of leftover in your bunch.
The benefit of growing your own herbs is they can benefit from having a trim and don’t even notice when you’re taking one tablespoon’s worth. You can just leave the rest in the garden for next time.
If you do buy herbs and have leftovers, or have excess herbs in your garden about to go to seed, then try some of these ideas:
- Chop them up and store in the freezer in ziplock bags (my preferred method). I wouldn’t use them in fresh salads or as a garnish, but they’re great flavour enhancers for curries, soups, stews, meatballs, salmon patties etc.
- Chop them up and freeze in olive oil in ice cube trays
- Make a herb puree and freeze in ice cube trays
- Find sauce or similar recipes that can use excess herbs and freeze for future meals (i.e. pesto, bolognese sauce, olive oil and herb dip for bread).
- Dry the herbs. Clean herbs and dry them. Tie into small bundles and hang upside down in a warm, dry, airy place in the shade. Ensure the bundles are small and loose to allow good circulation. When they are brittle and crumble easily, separate the leaves from the stems and store in glass jars with tight-fitting lids.
Planting herbs can be quite relaxing. Even though I’m not much of a gardener, I still enjoy sitting near the herb garden in the sunshine, and the kids love having a play in there as well. They get a huge thrill out of planting their herbs and are always keen to help collect the herbs for dinner too. Don’t forget to share your herbs too. Find a friend who enjoys their herbs, and arrange regular swaps.
Herbs can make gorgeous décor. A few simple potted herbs inside your kitchen on the window sill (or in any room for that matter) will look inviting, and smell delicious.
Whether you live in an apartment, cottage, farm, suburban home, townhouse, flat, unit or hotel room … you can grow your own herbs.
Do you grow herbs?
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