Why should you consider indoor herb gardening as a new resolution for 2020? Herbs not only enrich the taste of all the food we eat, but they are also amazingly good for your health and well-being. Did you know that much of our modern pharmaceuticals are synthetic based versions of natural herbs? The Chinese and Native Americans were masters of the art of growing and finding herbs for use as medicines. Plus, indoor herb gardening will help you produce healthier and tastier food!
You can use cuttings, purchase small plants or grow from seeds. If you have one or two sunny south-facing windows with window sills or a surface you can place under a sunny window, you are ready to plant. If not, a grow light will work just as well. When indoor gardening, it is best to use individual pots that you can group together. Planting in individual pots gives each plant room to grow with plenty of air around it. Good light, regular watering, and good organic soil are all you need for your herbs to thrive. Water when the topsoil is getting dry but do not let the plants sit in water and get soggy. Medium to light soil with lots of natural compost is best.
Growing herbs indoors is not only calming and fun; herbs are miracle food for your body. Growing herbs brings such great flavor enhancers to your cooking. Indoor herb gardening for health benefits is so important in today’s world that is rife with free radicals and chemicals. Here are some of the best herbs to start your indoor herb garden.
Chives are so easy to grow and great to repel insects from nearby plants. It tastes like a mild onion or garlic. Both the stems and immature buds are great in fish, soups or anywhere you would use onion or garlic. They have been used since Roman times as a blood enhancer, a diuretic, and to soothe sunburn or sore throats.
Fresh basil is a true flavor burst for all Italian dishes, pesto, tomato soups and dishes. When growing let the plant produce it’s first 6 leaves then pinch off above the second set to encourage branching. Basil is chock full of vitamins K, C and A, iron and manganese. It’s also a great source of calcium, Omega 3, and magnesium. As an essential oil or crushed it can treat wounds, cuts and skin infections.
Oregano has been used for thousands of years as a medicine plant. A perennial, it will come back every year if you protect it, so next spring you can plant it outside for the summer and fall. It has a strong flavor, bringing a depth and warmth to so many dishes. Rich in Vitamin K, it is a proven strong antioxidant, infection fighter, and ongoing tests show it may be a virus and cancer fighter. It is also an anti-inflammatory. Use it in sauces, soups, meat dishes, fresh salads, and salad dressings.
Thyme is wonderfully versatile. It is a perennial which will come back every year and thrives outside in the garden during the growing season. It has a more subtle flavor that blends superbly with other herbs and has so many uses in almost any dish. Besides great flavor enhancers, thyme is rich in vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants.
Thyme has many medicinal uses including: sore throat, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea and intestinal gas. It is also a diuretic, urine disinfectant and appetite stimulant. It can be applied to the skin for skin issues, treats laryngitis, tonsillitis, sores in the mouth and like all mints, treats bad breath. Anyone interested in improving both flavor and health needs to further investigate this miracle herb.
Mint is a wonderful herb with so many choices of tastes. You can choose spearmint, peppermint, chocolate, apple, you name it! Mint loves to live indoors thriving and expanding with lovely drooping leaves and scents. Easy to grow, you just have fun with mint. Take off what you need to use and clip it back if it gets too large. It will grow back bushier and better! Mint has been used for ages for indigestion and bad breath. It is full of healthful nutrients including rich in Vitamin A and anti-oxidants. Mint is used for irritable bowel syndrome, for relieving cold symptoms, for better brain function, and relieving skin conditions when applied to the skin.
Parsely can be used in any dish to add a bit of zest such as in soups, and sauces, fish, and salads. Parsley is considered a herb, a spice, and a vegetable. It is low in calories, has protein and is low in carbs. We all know it is a rich source of vitamin K, C, and A. It is an anti-inflammatory, reduces high blood pressure and powerful anti-oxidant. Parsley can also build strong bones and eyes, and is considered a cancer fighter!
Beautiful rosemary is a must for any indoor gardening program. With branching that looks like pine needles, it has an aromatic pine-like flavor perfect for meats, sauces, marinades, and vegetables. Use whole or chopped depending on the dish and flavor enhancement you want to achieve. Strip the needles or throw a spring into the pan while you are cooking meat to add a zestful flavor.
It is easy to grow, a perennial that stays small in a small pot in the house and when set into the garden grows into a pretty small bush. Rosemary can help brain function, grow hair, relieves pain. It is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Rosemary can also be used for liver health and repels bugs!
Cilantro goes by many names including coriander and Chinese Parsely. With a tart lemon-lime flavor, cilantro is a favorite for Mexican dishes. It grows beautifully in small pots on a sunny window sill and is pretty enough to be used in bouquets. Low in fat and carbs, it is great on meats. Add cilantro fresh as a topping, or near the end of cooking to preserve its flavor.
Cilantro is being tested as a cancer fighter, rich in nutrients including vitamins A, K, and C. An ancient herb, you will either love Cilantro or hate it. There is no in-between on this herb and some people may be allergic to it in its aroma or by eating it.
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