Benefits of Fresh Herb Gardening

You probably buy your herbs and spices preserved and dried at the store. While the flavors and health benefits of herbs can be found this way, consuming fresh herbs is even better. Fresh herb gardening brings the consumption of fresh herbs to a whole new level. You can help your bank account, enjoy flavorful, convenient, healthy herbs, and learn about the variety of herbs available to garden.

Growing your own fresh herbs will save you money. You could purchase fresh herbs from grocery or specialty stores, but if you’ve ever looked at prices, you know this is an expensive way to spice a dish. Invest in the right plants and fertilizer, plan your garden for the best use of available sunlight, and tend them carefully, and you’ll earn back any investment in the cost savings over purchasing your fresh herbs.

Fresh herbs bring more potent flavor to your table immediately after harvest. A brand new jar of dried or preserved spices is strong, but the longer the jar is open, the more taste the herbs lose. Not using your fresh herbs right away? You can keep them for up to a week by placing the cut stems in a glass of water in the refrigerator, just like fresh flowers. Place a loose plastic bag over the top of the herb bundle to hold in humidity, and snip off pieces as needed.

You won’t have to drive to the market if the plants are right on your windowsill. Convenience is a big bonus to growing your own herbs. Grow them outside in a traditional garden, or indoors on a windowsill or under grow-lights. You can even purchase hydroponic garden units for “dirtless” gardening of your fresh herbs. Even on a stormy winter day, you can have fresh herbs available if you garden them at home.

They say variety is the spice of life. Even familiar herbs such as oregano and basil come in multiple varieties and species for you to raise in your garden. Plant several and experiment with the different tastes each can lend to your food. Multiple flavors and cultivars are not a choice you get to make when choosing a jar of spices off the shelf at the grocery store.

Fresh herbs contain more potent levels of antioxidants and other compounds than processed herbs and spices. While fresh, your herbs’ healthy properties are still active. Tinctures and teas made from your fresh herbs will be stronger than those made from preserved herbs. For flavoring dishes, you will use a larger quantity of fresh from dried due to the water in the leaves. Most often, for every teaspoon of dried herb you would use 3 times that amount, or one tablespoon, of the fresh ingredient.

Fresh herb gardening will prompt you to find other uses for your herbs besides food and tea. Try infusing fresh herbs from your garden into massage oil or bath oil. Use your herbs in potpourri or add room-freshening fragrance to cut flower bouquets. Tuck sprigs of herbs between linens. Investigate the insect-repellant properties of herbs. The benefits of fresh herbs are endless.

Outside of the uses for the herbs themselves, gardening gives health benefits as moderate exercise. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of gardening activity burns 100 to 120 calories. Digging, raking, pruning, watering and harvesting are harder work than they seem and fun at the same time. Tending a garden and keeping plants lively and beautiful also has benefits in stress relief.

Learn more information and secrets to fresh herb gardening both indoors and outdoors at Successful Herb Gardening and register for a complimentary 10 day mini-course on all the details of herb gardening.

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