Flowers and other types of herbs create a cheerful impressive disposition that could certainly enhance the beauty of environment. More than that, it could greatly complement well with both indoor and outdoor settings. Its colourful shades offer a sense of greenery that promotes balance and harmony within the place where they are typically displayed. With its significance, various individuals have tried many ways to grow flowering plants and herbs to enhance a bountiful look within their garden. In fact, with varying types of herbs and plants you can right away enjoy the presence of fresh herbs and flowers at any areas you want. You could plant them on your balconies or perhaps on your windows, indeed you could have an attractive and functional window herb gardens at an instance. The garden would certainly provide ingredients that could add flavour to your daily meals as well as bring breathtaking aroma to the entire place. Nowadays, many people have recognized the presence of window herb garden for its functionality and versatility. In fact, most essential herbs could be nurtured and maintained in window sill or window ledge. However, there some important factors that need to take into account in order for them to grow healthy and thrive well. In this case, you need to place them on the sunny part of the window but during winter you could perhaps put fluorescent lights to protect them from too much cold. Moreover, growing herbs require regular watering and up keeping most particularly during hot or sunny day. With the onset of modernization there are available window boxes with self irrigating system to help save anyone from tedious work of daily watering. In addition, herbs that are grown in vegetable gardening boxes will have adequate drainage to protect it from damage and deterioration. There are now elegant containers or planters that have been constructed with good drainage holes. Likewise, right soil mixture should be maintained and it could as well be a good idea to add perlite on your potting soil before placing it on garden boxes to enhance the texture of the soil. Such concept would allow the herbs or the plants to breathe well, which would make your herbs or plants to flourish. In addition, you could perhaps add organic fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks in order for them to absorb proper amount of nutrients. By following these basic steps you could certainly have a thriving and appealing herbal garden.
It's a pity that few of us have the space to grow enough lavender to make our own essential oil for use around the home for domestic cleaning purposes, among a myriad of others. However, most of us have enough space – even if all we have room for is a pot on a balcony – to grow our own lavender as a supply of fresh scented flowers and dried flowers to use as moth repellents. You can put lavender in the cleaning liquid when doing the regular kitchen cleaning or the floor cleaning.
Don't just grab the first lavender you see at the garden shop. French lavender is decorative and is pretty popular (i.e. popular because it's pretty) but doesn't have much scent to it. English lavender (Lavandula augustifolia or L. latifolia; a hybrid of the two called L. x intermedia is also available) is the type you want. You can take your pick as to the exact colour the blooms will be when they come out. You can get flowers in shades ranging from white to pale blue-purple (classic lavender colour) through to purple and pink.
Lavender also grows from cuttings, so if you have a friend who has a lovely patch of lavender, you can ask for a cutting or two. Lavender also grows from seed, but this can be a bit of a gamble, as lavenders hybridize with each other readily and come up with offspring that are nothing like the parent plant you took the seeds from. Always ask first before taking cuttings or seeds; we don't all have the chutzpah of one middle-aged lady who will remain nameless who was an expert at nipping off seed-heads from strangers' gardens within easy reach of the footpath.
Lavender likes the sun – the more, the better. While lavender is mostly pest-free, it is prone to fungus if you plant it in damp, shady areas. It likes well draining soils and doesn't mind stones (rather like good wine grapes). Taller varieties of lavender can be planted as a hedge (try L. augustifolia "Vera", which has nice silvery leaves and gets to about 90 cm high). Lavenders repel insects – except for bees and butterflies, which love the flowers – so it makes a good perennial for companion planting near the vegetable garden. One delightful suggestion for planting lavender this writer has come across was to plant lavender near your washing line where the sheets can flap against it, picking up some of the scent as they dry outside.
Lavender prefers an alkaline soil. An acid soil can be corrected with ash or lime.
Plant lavender in autumn for best results. If you're planting a hedge, put the plants about 30cm apart – you don't need to crowd them. One of the bonuses of a lavender hedge is that it doesn't lose its leaves over winter. You can't really call it an evergreen, but you could call it an "ever-silver" or an "ever-grey".
Lavender hedges should be pruned after flowering (never before, for obvious reasons – you miss out on the flowers). Dry the prunings and use them for kindling or on a barbecue – they will release the scent as they burn.
Greenery in your balcony provides a place of retreat. No matter how small it creates a quiet place to retreat in the midst of a fast paced lifestyle. Gardening is also a major stress buster. Fulfilling your green thumb in an apartment balcony requires planning and turning your terrace green is an art. Be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy in maintaining your green space.
The Start up
Make a clear start up plan for your flat balcony. Mark out a zone for plants and a clear demarcation for your seating area or chairs. Make sure you leave enough space between pots for cleaning. If you dry clothes on your apartment balcony and if space permits, install a screen that demarcates your garden from the utility space.
Spend some time on your balcony to figure out how much sunlight it receives. This will help you make your choice of sun loving or shade loving plants. Make sure you get the direction of rainfall also correct. West facing balconies receive more sunlight. Place your pots aesthetically, not in a line. Place your pots in clusters or islands. Plan the colour combinations of the pots, flowers or leaves. Make sure you vary the size or girth of the pots.
You don't have to make all your decisions at once and buy all your pots together. Just keep adding to your garden. If your flat or villa is in tropical area you have the luxury of mixing ornamental plants with herbs and veggies. Other tropical plants include Anthurium's, Spathiphyllum for flowers and Diffenbachia, palms, ficus and philodendrons for their leaves. They also do well in the shade. Your herbs and greens need more sunlight and the easier varieties to grow are spinach, coriander and mint.
The green lung of your flat or villa can be made more fun by varying the shapes, sizes and colours of the containers or pots. You can add creative touches by up-cycling old coffee mugs, wooden crates, wooden basins, cans, bottles, etc. make optimum use of railings and walls for climbers. Hanging multi colored mugs with a collection of your favourite plants in them look great.
Who says you can't have your piece of paradise in an apartment or villa? Change the concrete jungle effect with your very own garden.
You do not need a green thumb to build an herb garden. Herbs are incredibly adaptable so they require less attention than vegetable gardens. Most herbs thrive in the sun, with six to eight hours of exposure being the ideal. Herbs generally need less water than flowers or vegetables do. In fact, many need to be watered only under drought conditions.
When building an herb garden, you should start out small. First, estimate how much time you'll want to spend gardening. (The bigger the garden, the more time it will need.) Consider the realities of the space you have to use: how much sun the garden will get, what the soil is like, which herbs will do best in your climate (the seed packet often tells you the type of soil and climate the herb will need.)
For city dwellers that lack space to cultivate, a railing planter is recommended. A basic herb garden might include rosemary, chamomile, peppermint lavender and feverfew. Many herbs will thrive in pots, so you are able to bring the magic of the garden indoors during the winter months. Remember these two things when growing herbs in pots: water before the soil dries out or before the leaves yellow and fall off, and use a soil that is a bit alkaline and has good drainage.
The following are eight additional herbs that stand up to the highest standards as far as clinical and laboratory studies. These herbs can effectively treat many diseases and are quite easy to grow:
Chamomile: is generally used as a tea, but its antispasmodic, anti-infective and ant-inflammatory properties are known worldwide and used in chamomile extracts, ointments and tinctures as well to treat a wide range of health problems, from indigestion to skin rashes. Chamomile is also an important ingredient in natural hair dyes for blonds.
Echinacea: stimulates the immune system, which in turn defends the body against infections, both bacterial and viral. Echinacea has a long history. The Native Americans originally used echinacea as a remedy for snakebites and skin wounds. Echinacea has now been known to help in the fight against diabetes by adjusting blood sugar levels.
Feverfew: one of the active ingredients in feverfew, parthenolide, has the ability to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. Because feverfew reduces the blood vessel spasms in the brain, it has also been known to treat nausea and vomiting as well as fevers and arthritis.
Garlic: Oh…the mighty power of garlic. No herb garden (or person) should be without especially after the high rising costs in the market place. Research shows that garlic can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and may even help heart attack survivors live longer. Garlic additionally relieves gas and aids digestion. Garlic is now being studied in tumor fighting research as well.
Ginkgo: is particularly useful for treating ailments associated by decreased blood flow to the brain. People who suffer from memory loss or confusion, especially the elderly, find that mental clarity increases by taking ginkgo. This herb improves circulation throughout the body, especially to the brain. Additionally, ginkgo helps to prevent blood clots and mood swings accompanied by anxiety and can relieve the symptoms of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), asthma, phlebitis (inflammation of a vein) and vertigo.
Lemon Balm: this herb works well to calm the nerves and to protect the body from bacterial infections. It's also effective on insomnia and menstruation symptoms. However, lemon balm is best known to treat cold sores associated by the herpes simplex virus. Extracts, used as a cream, helps lesions heal faster and extends the time between outbreaks.
St. John's Wort: is reputed to be an astringent, nervine and is very aromatic. Useful in coughs, colds and all lung diseases, it also is highly esteemed in the disorder of the urinary passages. The ointment is serviceable for bruises, scratches and insect bites. St. John's wort is especially known as a treatment for depression and insomnia and now shows promise as a treatment for nervousness and anxiety.
Valerian: has an antispasmodic effect for the treatment of epilepsy. Studies show that this herb is a safe, effective alternative to prescription sleeping pills and tranquilizers. It allays pain and promotes sleep and is strongly nervine without any narcotic effects
Herbs are the most important component in all sorts of savory dishes; be it stews, barbecues, soups or pastas. You can create your favorite dishes using fresh aromatic herbs even in harsh and cold winter season by growing these herbs indoors.
There are many herb varieties that can be grown indoors during the winter season. You can grow them in pots or containers and place them on the kitchen window sill where they are easily accessible. Apart from pots and containers, you can also grow them in railing planters.
Most of the herbs can be propagated through seeds. However; seed germination during cold winter season is tricky so it advisable to buy herb plants from the market and plant them indoors. You can also transplant herbs indoors that are already growing in your garden. They can also be grown from plant cuttings. Herbs generally do not take a lot of time to mature. They are ready for harvest in about 3-4 weeks. Make sure to put them in a sunny spot or near windows that receive ample sunlight and grow them in rich potting soil.
Try using herbs more regularly in your cooking as frequent harvest will encourage the plant to produce more leaves. It will also enhance the taste and flavor of your food. Some common herbs that can be grown indoors during winter season include Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Mint, Marjoram, Chives and Parsley. All these are wonderful aromatic herbs have a pleasant fragrance. They can add a hint of pleasing scent in the indoor environment and can also enhance the overall appearance of your kitchen or other rooms where they are placed. So, go ahead and plant these amazing herbs your kitchen this season…
There are many reasons to grow your own herbs, but the best ones are, you know where your herbs have come from and what has been used to fertilize them. You don't have to pay the high prices for fresh herbs in the grocery store, and you can have herbs all year. Herbs can be grown inside or out and don't need a lot of room. Depending on the herb and your taste you can use them as potpourri. Use the right combination and you can even use them on your fruit and deserts.
Putting some fresh thyme and rosemary in the oven at a low temp. And your house will smell wonderful, if you want a sweeter smell mint is another good way to make your house smell homey. If you love the smell of an Italian restaurant then you can roast oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley in the oven at 100 to 125 degrees, I use this trick for parties and some people use it when they have open houses.
A Rosemary bush is a good herb to plant in your yard because not only does it make pork and chicken taste wonderful but you can add it to mango salsa, red gravy, and BBQ sauce to name a few. Rosemary is also a great way to get the smell of onions off your hands I found this out by accident when I was cutting some off the bush to add to the baked fish I was cooking. The Rosemary bush can be planted in a planter, this is best if you live in an area where the winters are cold, this makes it easier to bring it inside so that you can have this fresh herb If you live in a warmer climate then you can plant it outside either way you all year long will want to trim it about once a year to keep it under control. This is when you can dry it so you can give it to your friends and family as a present.
Depending on how much room you have and the size of your family will depend on the size of your herb garden. If you live in an apartment or you rent a house having your herbs in pots makes moving a lot easier. Having your herbs in pots is also a good idea if you have pets or live in a rural area this way you can keep them from eating them. Flower boxes are a good idea if you live in the city just make sure you clean them really well to get all the fumes off of them.
Most people like to rely on the old favorites but you should try different herbs and combination of them to give your taste buds a surprise. You can get these different types of herbs on the web you may even be able to find them at your local home improvement store, but be careful the seeds you buy may be from last year, and if they weren't stored properly then you may not get the results that you want. The seedlings that you see in your local home improvement store may contain pesticides that aren't organic. The word organic can mean different thing to different companies this is because organic food isn't really regulated by the government. Getting the more unusual herbs you want will require you going online especially if you don't have a farmers market or an organic supermarket.
Going to the grocery store for dried herbs can get very expensive and with all the mixes on the market who knows what preservatives there are in them. With your own herb garden you can not only make your own mixes but you can make them for your friends and family. Put the mix in sandwich bags that have a zip top add your favorite recipe and you have a perfect gift for any occasion. For your own use inexpensive pepper and salt shakers are a good way to keep track of your entire herb mixes just make sure you label them.
I like to organize my herbs the ones I use most are in the front and the special ones are in the back. The special ones are the herbs that I use for special dishes or for garnishes. Using insects instead of pesticides is a more environment friendly way to grow your herbs. Not only do some insects help keep other insects at bay but they also help pollinate your herbs. If you're lucky you may even see some butterflies. If you want to save room in your yard and on your grocery bill you can plant your herbs in between your vegetables this way you can rotate your garden to keep your land fresh.
Herbs can be used in many different ways cooking and aromatics are only two of them, another way to use herbs is for medical reasons. If you want to use herbs for this reason you need to be careful some herbs can be poisonous in large amounts and some can have savior side effects if taken with certain meds, if you're not sure if the herbs you want to take will interfere with your meds then you need to ask your doctor if it's ok. You will also want to find a reputable website or book to find the right dosage for you.
However you use your gardens herbs you want to make sure you wash and don't use pesticides them. Washing gets rid of dirt, bugs and other impurities that may be in your garden. Pesticides can not only be harmful but can also alter the taste of your herbs if it's not washed off properly. The whole point of herbs is to try new things and mix it up a little.
For a small vegetable, garlic sure has a big reputation.
Garlic does not bring good luck or ward off vampires, but it can transform any meal into an aromatic and healthy culinary experience. Garlic (from the allium family) is a cousin to onions, leeks and chives, which is why it is known for its pungent punchy flavour and fragrance.
What’s That Smell…?
When garlic cloves are chewed, crushed or cut, they release a sulphur-bearing compound called allicin – the chemical that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell. And it’s the allicin that is thought to be responsible for garlic’s therapeutic qualities.
Apart from the eye-watering bite, garlic reeks when eaten raw. Too much is even bad for your digestion. This is something to consider particularly when you’re meeting clients, about to get kissed or visiting God’s place of worship to pray.
Consideration for others and good hygiene is the message here. Garlic breath is a no-brainer so use common sense and don’t overdo it.
Garlic grows as a “bulb” head, averaging about 2-3 inches in size and consists of numerous small separate cloves.
Both the cloves and the entire bulb are encased in paper-like coats that can be coloured off-white or have a pinkish hue.
To remove, use a small knife to peel the skins, drop the cloves into boiling then cold water to shock them or (and this is my favorite method), bang each clove with the flat side of a knife/rolling-pin against a chopping board and pick the skins off.
Garlic is native to central Asia and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region. Garlic is grown globally, but according to the United States Department of Agriculture (2006), China is by far the largest producer of garlic, with approximately 10.5 million tonnes grown annually, accounting for over 77% of world output. India (4.1%) and South Korea (2%) follow, with Egypt and Russia (1.6%) tied in fourth place
The papery, protective layers of “skin” over garlic are generally discarded for cooking although garlic is best roasted whole in the oven, skins and all intact.
Garlic is a wonderful seasoning to breads, soups and meat dishes. It can be added at the first stage to a recipe, crushed or ground to a paste and fried in a little oil. Or it can be grated at the end of cooking process to retain the maximum flavour and nutrition.
Roast whole cloves with potatoes and chicken until they’re charred and soft; for garlic bread just rub a sliced clove onto a halved baguette and drizzle in olive oil before grilling.
Health Benefits Of Garlic
Garlic’s antibacterial and antiviral properties are perhaps its most legendary feature.
If you feel a the flu virus attacking eat a raw clove or two knowing that it’ll beat the virus faster than prescribed medicine. Of course don’t munch on garlic as is—unless you’re happy with that—thinly slice it, eat it with toast or chop in halves and gulp down with water like a pill.
This vegetable has been studied not only for its benefits in controlling infection by bacteria, but also infection from other microbes including yeasts and fungi.
Our red blood cells use molecules from garlic called polysulfides to produce hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S). This in turn helps our blood vessels expand and keep our blood pressure in check.
Other benefits from just one clove a day will top your body’s supply of:
Vitamin C – for tissue growth and repair
Vitamin B6 – important for metabolism and immunity
Selenium, iron, calcium and manganese minerals
There are people who are allergic to garlic so be kind and ask before cooking for others.
Note: Don’t microwave garlic as this kills its active ingredients.