How to Grow and Use Herbs

Overview

Herbs have a variety of uses for the home gardener. They can be used in cooking and crafts, as well as for other purposes. According to Randy Sell, a research associate at the North Dakota State University Department of Agricultural Economics, herbs also have nutritional value. This is great news for those who are trying to eat healthier. Growing herbs is a good way to save money on a food budget. Fresh herbs from the garden cost only a fraction of what they cost purchased fresh or dried at the supermarket.

Growing Herbs

Step 1

Choose the herbs that will grow best in your area, and that you will use most often. Decide where to plant them. Pay attention to whether an herb is considered an invasive plant or not. Decide if you will use garden beds or containers.

Step 2

Create barriers for invasive herbs, or plant them in containers. Build garden beds and work the soil in them to 10 inches deep. Place containers where desired and fill them halfway with soil.

Step 3

Fill the beds or containers with compost, and work the compost into the soil. Even out the top of the soil with a hand trowel.

Step 4

Plant the seeds, seedlings and or cuttings as directed, spacing them so that, when they are fully grown, they will not be too crowded.

Step 5

Be sure to weed at least weekly and not to let the soil dry out too quickly.

Uses for Herbs

Step 1

Use herbs in cooking for a healthier diet. Pair chives with salads or potatoes. Use sage when cooking poultry. Add parsley to soups and stews, as well as to tomato dishes.

Step 2

Craft with herbs. Create a kitchen wreath. Bundle herbs to hang as decorations along a kitchen wall. Make soaps and other personal products using the herbs from the garden. Make dream or sleep pillows using lavender. Create herb arrangements in place of, or in conjunction with, flower arrangements.

Step 3

Give herbal gifts. Dry herbs and place them, crumbled, into small canning jars. Create a sticker with the name of the herb using a decorative font. Place the sticker on the front of the jar. Cut out rounded pieces of fabric slightly larger in diameter than the canning jar lid. Tie the fabric to the lid ring with a ribbon. Place the lid on the jar and close tightly. Instruct recipients to keep jars out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Tell them that the herbs will last longer if placed in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some parts of herb plants may be poisonous. Research each herb thoroughly before using.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden beds
  • Containers
  • Hand trowel
  • Work gloves
  • Compost
  • Seeds
  • Seedlings
  • Cuttings
  • Canning jars
  • Blank stickers
  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Ribbon

References

  • NDSU

Who Can Help

  • The Backyard Gardener
  • Herb Crafts and Creations
Keywords: grow herbs, use herbs, organic methods

About this Author

Shannon Buck is a freelance writer residing in the small town of Milford, Maine. Her work has appeared on several sites including GreenandSave.com, where she writes The Green Mom column. She has written on many subjects, including home improvement, gardening, low-income living, writing and homeschooling.