D's Dish On Healthy Eating

Nutritious Should be Delicious!

Grow Your Health: Planting a summer herb garden

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There are many different ways to grow an herb garden. Most of which are pretty simple and require only a few supplies. Herbs go great on summer salads, in meats, in beverages and on sandwiches to name a few. They add flavor without salt, sugar or fat and add variety to your usual diet to stave off boredom and cravings. Not to mention the health benefits. Find out more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/healthy-herbs-spices-healthiest_n_2089007.html

In the past I have used the AeroGrow herb garden while living in an apartment without outdoor space. I would highly recommend this to those who are short on time or outdoor space. It pretty much takes care of itself with automatic lights and water filtration system. All that is required is refilling the water and nutrient packets when a little light flashes to remind you. I had great growth with this system and had herbs year round. http://www.aerogrow.com/

Growing herbs from seed or plant in the soil is pretty simple as long as you have good soil quality, sunlight and water daily. Plant according to package instructions and water well. I grew my fennel in the garden this year from seed so I will keep you posted on the outcome. Fingers crossed.

I also started a gutter gardening system on my garage this year because I ran out of garden space. I got a little overzealous with the gardening since we finally have a backyard!!! Hope it all grows. Anyways, the gutter gardening is quite simple as well and is very suitable for herbs. Jeff drilled holes in the bottom of the gutters to allow drainage and then drilled the gutters into the side of the garage so they hang off in parallel lines. You can also slant them so they drain to one end and then drill the drainage holes only in the draining end (slant right, left, right if hanging multiple rows of gutters). Then, I filled the gutters with a combo of black dirt from our yard and potting soil and planted according to package instructions. It seems like they will require a bit more watering due to the heat they receive from being attached to the garage, but I will keep you posted on their growth. I grew mostly greens and strawberries in the gutters, but you can also plant tomatoes, peas and herbs…

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This year I decided to plant herbs in a galvanized steel barrel due to a shortage of garden space for veggies and frutis and because I wanted them to be right outside my kitchen door. This required a few more steps than just planting them in the ground or in pots because it requires protection against the heat of the steel and the possible chemicals in the steel. It was, however, cheaper than buying a wooden planter or ceramic pot of this size and could be used in an outdoor space without grass. The galvanized steel barrel cost about $20 and each herb plant cost $2.25. I also used two bags of potting soil. The steps to constructing include:

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  1. Drill holes in the bottom of the galvanized steel barrel to allow for drainage
  2. Place 1” of rocks in the bottom to allow for drainage           IMG_2314
  3. Place heat barrier layer of bubble wrap to cover all surfaces except 2” on top (poke holes to allow drainage)IMG_2318
  4. Place a layer of gardening plastic to cover all surfaces except 2” on top (poke holes to allow drainage)IMG_2319
  5. Fill barrel with potting soil 2” from top to allow watering (I also used compost that I had been working on for a few weeks)IMG_2323
  6. Place chosen herb plants in the soil at container height and surround with dirt (follow packaging instructions). You may also plant from seed following the packet instructions. Make sure to space a few inches apart for most. Space mint more generously or grow in separate container because it has a tendency to over grow and spread quite a bit.
  7. Water well and water daily
  8. Place barrel in full sun area (most herbs require full sun, but read package instructions)
  9. Allow a few days to a week of growth before you start picking herbs grown from plants and longer when grown from seeds (until they are mature plants). Never remove more than 1/3 of the herb plant at one time.

Stay tuned for posts on recipes featuring garden fresh herbs and tips on composting!

 

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