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Save Money and Grow Your Own Herbs
By Monica Resinger
_http://homemakersjournal.com_ ( 
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 
and my 
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!  _ ( 
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:  

**************Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.      

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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