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Save Money and Grow Your Own Herbs
By Monica Resinger
I'm sure you have noticed the high price of dried herbs for cooking at the
grocery store; a small bottle can sometimes run $4 or $5 or more. Why not save
some money and enjoy the fresh taste and grow your own? It's simple, provided
you have a sunny area to grow them.
How to Grow Them
To grow herbs, all you need is a sunny area, fertile soil and a little of
your time. If your soil is clay or sandy, you will need to add organic
such as compost or manure to get the best results. Once your herbs are
planted, make sure they get at least an inch of water each week and keep the
weeded. If you have added plenty of organic material to the soil prior to
planting, you probably won't have to worry about feeding the plants for a
while. All I do is work in a layer of compost around the plants each season
herbs grow fine.
If you don't have a whole area to devote to herbs, that's okay, you can
squeeze them into your flower beds or vegetable garden. Herbs make a pretty
combination to flowering plants and some will actually benefit nearby plants by
repelling insects. Just be sure the area gets plenty of sun and the soil is
fertile and weeded.
You can also grow them in containers provided they get enough sun. If you do
this, you will have to water on a daily and sometimes twice daily basis. Be
sure to check the soil often to see if it is drying out. You will also have to
fertilize the plants often because as you water, the nutrients get leached
out of the soil.
What it Will Cost You
An herb plant at the local nursery will cost you between $1.99 and $10
depending on the size of the herb. I usually purchase the smallest size to
money because I usually don't need a huge amount right away. If the herb is a
perennial, it's going to be there year after year supplying you with fresh
leaves for cooking and will be growing bigger each year which will allow you
propagate plants by division, cuttings or seed which means more herb! If the
herb you purchased is an annual, that's okay because it will supply you with
enough herb to still make it worth the purchase. You can also propagate
annual herbs by collecting the seeds or by taking cuttings. If you'd like to
more money yet, you can start the herbs from seed or get a division or
cutting from a friend, neighbor or relative.
How to Use Herbs
Through the growing season, you can use the herb fresh which has a much
better flavor than dried. If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of dried herb,
substitute one tablespoon of freshly chopped herb.
Drying and Storing
You can dry your herbs for winter use or convenience. To dry them, cut them
early on a dry day after the dew is gone. Bundle 8-10 stems of the herb with
a rubber band at the cut end and hang them upside down in a well-circulated
area out of direct sunlight.
I have a piece of lattice hanging on one of my kitchen walls for this
purpose and I also use a pegged, wooden coffee cup holder which is made to hang
a wall. They both make pretty decorations with all the herbs and flowers
hanging from them drying.
In about a week or so (or less if weather is hot and dry), check the leaves
to see if they are crispy to the touch and no moisture remains. If so, remove
the leaves from the stem, crush and put into a lidded container, label and
store out of direct sunlight. When removing the leaves, it helps to do it over
a piece of paper so you can catch any fallen leaves.
Growing my own herbs has saved me a bundle of money and has provided an
enjoyable hobby, fresh taste and something to offer my friends and family. You
can even make your own herb seasoning mixes to bottle in pretty jars to give as
gifts as an additional way to save money. I'm sure you'll find it worth the
small effort too.
Monica is the founder Homemaker's Journal E-publications, the growing home
of many fun and informative home and garden e-books, tip sheets, articles and
more! _http://homemakersjournal.com/_ (http://homemakersjournal.com/)
Get a FREE Slowcooker Recipe E-book when you subscribe to Monica's FREE
e-zine for homemakers! To subscribe and receive instructions for picking up
FREE e-book, just send a blank e-mail to:
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**************Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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