You Need an Herb Garden, and This is Why

If things are getting dull in dinnerland, maybe you should get your gardening gloves.

Herb Garden

A friend of mine is a master at gardening. From her overflowing flower pots, to the large veggie garden, her yard is the envy of many. I am what you’d call a novice at best. My yard doesn’t have a lot of space, nor do I have a lot of time or money to invest in a garden. Besides that, we usually go on vacation for much of the summer, which means that all of my hard work usually results in neglected plants by the end of the summer. 

The one kind of garden that I am able to maintain, and use on a regular basis, is a herb garden. I love my herb garden, and despite my failings when it comes to plants, it’s been one of the most useful things I’ve ever done in my yard!

You need a herb garden, too.  Here’s why:

1. It will save you money

Sure, you can buy chives, parsley, basil, and more at the store, but often, the bundles are a lot more than you actually need and just end up going bad in the fridge. When you grow your own, all you do is walk outside with a pair of scissors and snip off exactly how much you need!

2. You will be healthier

Using herbs to flavour your cooking is a far healthier option than adding more salt, which is currently being consumed in Canada far more than it should be. Instead, top your chicken with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon, or make your own pesto, which is far less salty than the store bought versions. Try adding mint or lemon balm leaves to water with slices of cucumber to make a low calorie, yet tasty-flavoured soda water to replace your usual pop.

3. Kids love it

When Kevin was small, he loved picking off a few chives here and there, and munching on them. Kids enjoy getting their hands dirty, and herbs are a great way to teach them about where food comes from. It may also be a way to teach them that those “green things” in their pasta are actually really, really yummy!

4. It’s easy

I will be the first to tell you if growing something is too much trouble. Herbs are, in general, really easy to grow and maintain. Make sure to ask questions at the garden centre if you aren’t sure about how to care for them, or check out some tips on the Internet. Be aware that some are invasive (all mints and lemon balm) and best grown in pots, or they will take over the space you’ve planted them in (or your lawn!). Some herbs will come back yearly (chives, oregano, thyme, parsley), but others will need to be replanted each season (such as basil). My favourite is rosemary, which is somewhat tree-like and has to be kept close to our house throughout the winter to survive. The initial investment for pots, soil, and seeds is worth it, and something that will last season after season. You don’t need expensive or fancy containers, either. Basically, if herbs can survive me, I think they can survive anyone!

5. You will know where it came from

These days, there’s a lot of talk about natural and local food. For me, there’s just something satisfying about walking out the back door, off my porchwith scissors in hand, and snipping off herbs, right from the plant, to use in my cooking. I grew that, and I know there were no weird sprays or chemicals involved, just lots of sun, fresh air, water, and love. Besides that, they just taste so good!




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She may go by the name Scatteredmom online, but Karen really is anything but scattered when it comes to the kitchen.  Churning out tasty treats within view of the Georgia Strait on Canada's west coast, Karen will hand you an organized weekly meal plan or teach you how to make meals from scratch.  As Mom to a teenage boy, she knows exactly what it takes to keep kids full and happy-which has really come in handy with her job as the Food Editor at Yummy Mummy Club.

A strong supporter of Food Revolution who has been endorsed by Jamie Oliver himself, by day Karen can be found working as a special education teaching assistant, running a kitchen and showing teenagers how to cook nutritious meals for themselves.  By night, when she's not chatting on Twitter and answering cooking questions,  she writes her popular blog Notes From the Cookie Jar, or posting mouthwatering recipes over at Chasing Tomatoes.  Not afraid to give her opinion and passionate about community, Karen spoke at Blissdom Canada 2010 and her writing has been published in Canadian Living magazine, as well as in various online publications. 

Follow Karen on Twitter @scatteredmom