Herbs are wonderful plants. They add flavor to our meals, they add nutrients to our diet, and many have qualities that enhance our health. By growing an organic herb garden, you will be able to enjoy chemical free fresh herbs any time you choose. You will find the taste of your organic herbs is far superior to that of herbs grown with chemical fertilizers or processed commercially.
So how do you make sure your herb garden is organic? First of all, make sure that the seeds you plant are completely organic. Many commercial seeds have been treated chemically or come from plants that were subjected to pesticides. You can find for organic seeds easily by searching for that phrase on the internet. Make sure the seeds you buy are guaranteed organic as well as non-genetically modified.
You will have a large number of herb plants to choose from, so plant ones which you will use, as well as ones that will grow well in your climate. Many herbs are perennials, so you will want to plant these in one area, and set aside a second area for annual herbs, such as basil, cilantro and parsley. Before you plant, map out your herb garden. Many herbs will grow better if they are planted next to other specific herbs. Do your research on this, or ask the staff at your gardening store.
As you plant your seeds, pay attention to the planting and growing instructions on the seed packages. Choose a sunny area for your garden, and enrich your soil with organic compost.
Organic compost attracts and holds many essential plant nutrients. It has a sponge-like texture that retains moisture. It also binds the mineral portion of the soil loosely so air can reach the roots and the roots can easily penetrate the soil.
You will, of course, enjoy your herbs fresh throughout the growing season, but you can easily have them available all year long by drying them. For the best results, pick your herbs early in the day, when it is cooler. Cut large sprigs, gently wash them, and allow them to dry. Once dry, tie the herb stems together in bundles and hang them in a dry area away from direct sunlight. Once they are completely dry, crush the leaves and put them into jars. They will keep their full flavor for about a year.
You can also freeze your herbs, a method that retains the flavor and freshness. Once you have harvested the herbs, wash and dry them thoroughly. Leaving the stems, leaves and flowers intact, place the dried herb sprigs into a large freezer bag or container. To use them, just crumble off a few leaves. Some herbs retain flavor better dried, others when they are frozen. Check in a good herb book to see how to best preserve each type of herb.
You can use your organically grown herbs, fresh or preserved, in many other ways – to make herbal vinegars, butters and oils, for example. Not only will you save money by growing an organic herb garden, your plants will be healthier and lusher, and you will also have fresher, more healthy herbs to add zest and flavor to your cooking all year long.