By Toni Lynn Davis, MHA, CNHA, FACHCA
CEO and President Green Hill Inc.
Spring means its time to start your herb garden. A small container herb garden is fun to plant, easy to care for, and provides delicious and nutritious additions to your daily diet. Flavor is the key to keeping ones appetite vigorous, and tending a small container garden is known to make one feel happier. Herbs have medicinal benefits too and add a great aroma to your living space and outdoor areas.
1. Use a few large containers or pots of various sizes that fit in your space. Purchase a few starter plants at your grocery store or plant store. Buy a couple of bags of 100% organic potting soil, a watering can, a hand trowel and a pair of gardening glove and you are ready to go.
2. Ask a friend or care giver for help with purchasing you gardening items and lifting and pouring the dirt and water.
3. Cut or pinch off the herbs you want to use within thirty minutes of cooking to keep more of the nutritional properties.
4. I have listed some easy to grow herbs below.
• Rosemary smells great, is delicious with proteins, has compounds that is known to fight cancer and the smell may improve your memory. Grow in full sunlight.
• Thyme adds great flavor to soups and salads and has been used for respiratory problems. It has pretty little flowers and enjoys full sunshine.
• Lavender is a pretty plant that is full of antioxidants that can fight bloating and the scent is used for relaxation and sleep. Its great to sprinkle in a bath and to bake with peach and honey. The plant grows big so use a large pot or plant in the ground and give it at least eight hours of sun.
• Basil is delicious in sauces, with cheese and even in lemonade and is known to have a calming effect on nerves. Its also a great anti-inflammatory. Pot it or grow it outside and give it some sun. Keep it moist but not wet.
• Parsley is packed with vitamin A, C & K and is great in soups, sauces and fresh in salads. It also freshens your breath. Parsley is easy to grow if you keep it moist and in partial sunlight.
• Chives are yummy chopped in yogurt dips and dressings or in salads. They help boost your immune system and are associated with lowering ones risk of certain cancers. Easy to grow indoors, they don’t need much light or space.
• Mint is great for dips, and drinks and freshens the breath, helps with digestion, headaches and even respiratory problems. If you plant it outside it will take over your garden so use a medium size pot and trim and use it often. Mint requires partial to full sun for with moist soil to keep you grazing all summer long.
Enjoy the fruits of your gardening labor. For more information visit http://extension.usu.edu/boxelder/files/uploads/hg524.pdf