Thinking about starting an herb garden?? That’s great news! I love having fresh herbs at my finger tips and they are so cheap to grow (compared with the pricey little bundles available at your grocery store).
I live in Western New York, so most culinary herbs are annual here (with a few exceptions such as oregano, dill, mints and thyme). Not the end of the world – it’s still cheaper to buy a few plants than to purchase from a grocery store. If you want to be really frugal, you can start your herbs from seed; however, I’m a little too lazy for that.
So your one of your first questions is probably "what will I plant?" Well first and foremost, plant what you will use. Are you looking for culinary herbs? Herbs to make teas? Herbs that just smell nice or look pretty? Below is what I grow in my herbal garden –
Culinary: Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley, Sage, Chives, Cilantro, Tarragon
Tea: Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Spearmint, Peppermint, Yarrow, Lemon Verbena
Other: Echinacea, Lavender, Tansy
Next you need a small garden space or flower bed, some good dirt and your plants. Break up the dirt, add some compost to boost the nutrients in the soil, put your plants in the dirt and water them. Keep them watered through the hot summer, but not so much that the ground is always soggy. The plants will let you know when they need water...they get a little droopy.
Even if you don’t have space for a typical outdoor garden, you can still plant an herb garden. There are many options, you just need good potting soil and your plants. Get creative!
A tabletop herb garden - makes a great centerpiece on your outdoor table. Just find a large shallow planter, add dirt and a handful of your favorite herb plants.
A window box outside a kitchen window – simply open the window and trim off some herbs to brighten up your dinner.
A container garden – plant herbs in several different containers to set around your porch or even just on the steps going up to your front door.
A window sill garden – similar to the window box, just indoors on a window sill.
I hope the pictures I included here have inspired you to start your own herb garden. I will post pictures of mine later in the season!!
Happy herb gardening!
PS - If you have not joined my email list on the main page of this website, please do so now! You don't want to miss out on my May Newsletter - which is all about veggie gardens! (cuz they equal happiness too! :-) )
Did you know that Black tea, Green tea, White tea, Oolong tea and Pu’erh tea all come from the same plant? Camellia sinensis …the tea plant.
The difference in all these teas is how the leaves/buds are processed…if it is not fermented (white), fermented a little then cooked (green), or fermented heavily (black). And obviously, there are several variations in-between that each lead to a slightly different type of tea.
Each type of tea has its own benefits. All teas have some level of anti-oxidants; although as a rule (and rules are not 100%, at least not in my world) the darker and more fermented the tea, the less anti-oxidants the tea contains. Also, the darker teas tend to have higher levels of caffeine. So while all tea is beneficial, it is true that green tea is “better” than black tea, and white tea is “better” than green tea.
Wondering what the exception to the rule is? Pu’erh.
I have recently become a huge fan of Pu’erh tea. This is often referred to as a black tea, but because it is handled a little differently, it’s really its own variety. Pu’erh starts out being handled like a green tea, but then allowed to fully ferment. After fermentation, it goes through an aging process, during which bacteria and other microorganism work magic on it. The end product has caffeine, but not as much as regular black tea, and it is higher in anti-oxidants. But that's not all!!!
Studies have shown that in addition to all the wonderful benefits of high anti-oxidants, Pu’erh tea can also help lower serum LDL (bad cholesterol), lower triglycerides, while elevating HDL (good cholesterol). This is good news if you are one of the 102 million Americans with high cholesterol.
I’ve seen testimonials from people also claiming that pu’erh is beneficial to weigh loss, but I have not read any scientific studies regarding this. It may be true, it may not. However, my feeling on it is this…it’s a great tasting tea with several known health benefits…do you really need another reason to drink it?
Tracy’s Teas will soon be carrying a delicious Pu’erh variety. If you haven’t already, “like” my Tracy’s Teas Facebook page and you will be one of the first to know when it is available for sale on my website.
Looking forward to chatting with you soon….over a wonderful cup of Pu’erh.
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.