Herbs are non-woody plants that produce leaves and flowers which may be used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Include an herb garden in your landscape, either alone or as part of your vegetable garden. Herbs may also be grown in containers on your patio or indoors on a sunny table or windowsill. Select a variety of herbs for your garden to enhance your cooking, have home remedies at the ready and help your vegetables grow well.
A culinary herb garden is filled with herbs that complement your cooking, spicing up flavour and adding depth to otherwise ordinary dishes. For savoury dishes, grow rosemary, sage and parsley. Italian food is enhanced with basil, oregano and mint. Add thyme to the garden as well; this herb enhances the flavour of soups, stews and poached meats. Other additions to the culinary herb garden include chives, tarragon, marjoram, cilantro and dill.
Herbal teas and tinctures have long been a part of home remedies for ailments from upset stomach to sleeplessness. Include some medicinal herbs in your garden for your medicine cabinet. Garlic in the culinary garden may also be used for relief of cold and flu symptoms. Chamomile may be used as a tea to calm an upset stomach or relieve tension. Use chamomile leaves as an anti-inflammatory aid. Warm the leaves in a cloth bag and apply them to a minor cut to avoid swelling. Lemon balm tea relieves achy muscles and peppermint tea stimulates appetite and aids in digestion.
Herbs may be grown for their aromatic properties as well. Dried leaves may be placed in a heat-safe dish and set over a votive candle as a do-it-yourself aromatherapy session. Use a selective mix of dried herbs and spices for a potpourri to scent the air in your home. Some aromatic herbs for the garden include lavender, rosemary, mint and thyme. Lemon thyme may be planted on walkways and between stepping stones. When stepped on, the plant releases a lemony scent but the plant remains unharmed. The scent of rosemary is said to clear the head and improve memory. Lavender, when dried, may be used as a sachet under the pillow to promote relaxation and sleep.
Planting small sections of herbs in the vegetable garden may also aid in pest control and promote vigorous growth in your vegetable plants. Plant a patch of basil near the sweet peppers and garlic near the tomato plants. Use rosemary and sage to protect your carrot patch and cabbages.