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Herb Gardening

  Herb gardening is useful in so many ways.

Herbs are wonderful for adding fragrance in a flower bed. They also offer companionship in a vegetable garden and provide numerous uses in the kitchen.

If you enjoy cooking you will certainly enjoy the flavor of fresh herbs grown in your own garden. It's important when choosing your plants for herb gardening to know their growth habits. Mint for instance is a perennial that will spread from year to year. It will take over if you allow it to.

Plants can be grown in the ground or in a container. Both ways work well.

Some common spices that are used in cooking include basil, sage, chive, rosemary, mint, dill, and parsley. Consider placing these close to your home either in containers or in an area where the soil can be amended.

You can also place them in your vegetable garden. When planted next to certain vegetables they will help to prevent intruding insects, such as planting basil next to tomatoes. This is known as companion planting.

It is a good idea for the purpose of controlling insects, however if you are primarily growing basil to cook with, it won't be very convenient for you to climb through tall tomato plants when you want to gather some basil leaves.

Windowboxes make great containers. They can be placed outside a kitchen window where they make a nice home decoration and can also be brought inside a sunny kitchen window during the winter months. Clay pots and other decorative garden pots work well too.

Another idea for herb gardening is to plant some lavender and bee balm amongst your flower garden to attract butterflies. The flowers can be cut to make attractive and fragrant bouquets or be dried to make potpourri.

To dry them for cooking during the winter months or to use for crafts, rinse them under water and paper towel dry. Then tie them in small bunches and hang to air dry. The important thing is to make sure that they do not mold before they dry. Some plants will retain more moisture than others and may require the use of a dehydrator.

Many herbs make good indoor houseplants, too. Try growing basil or chives indoors over the long winter months. You will be glad that you did!

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