Disclosure: I felt the magic of swiss herbs in Ricola® Dual Action Honey Lemon drops as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. #swissherbs The swiss herbs in Ricola® Dual Action Honey Lemon drops help sooth my itch throat caused by allergies and this post is sponsored for Socialstars. #swissherbs All words, thoughts and ideas are my own.
Last year I started our first Herb Garden and I learned a TON! Here are 10 of my favorite tips, cheats, and hacks.
1. Research! What was I going to grow and how do I grow it. I should probably let you know that I do not have a green thumb. I would say only about 30% of the plants I’ve ever owned have survived, but that doesn’t deter me.
We started with mint, chives, lavender, cilantro, blackberries (thornless), strawberries, and tomatoes.
2. Decide where you’re going to plant your herbs. This is where your research comes in handy. Are you planting your garden in a garden box, in the yard, or in pots? Some plants do better in full sun and some with partial sun.
Because mint grows like crazy and will take over your garden, I planted it away from the dedicated herb garden space and in an area we spend a lot of time. If you don’t have a spot away from your other herbs, plant it in a pot or barrel. I planted it by a popular hangout spot because it not only smells good, but it helps to keep mosquitoes away!
We’re using it along a fence and it will eventually make for nice ground cover.
3. Don’t forget to water them, but not too much. Some herbs need more water than others. For example, I accidentally planted our cilantro next to our chives. The cilantro needs way less water than the chives. Our cilantro did not survive last year, but our chives are still doing great.
4. Keep the weeds away. Spread a little mulch and weed often. You don’t want the weeds sucking up your soil nutrients. It may look like a pretty little flower, but it’s a garden nuisance.
5. Make sure you trim off the blooms of your herbs. Cutting the flowering tops off will not hurt your herb plant, it will actually prolong the harvesting window. I made the mistake of not cutting my cilantro flowers and all the plants energy went to the flower rather than the roots and rest of the herb.
6. Harvest and harvest often. The more you cut and use your herbs the more they’ll grow. I had to convince my husband that it was ok to cut the herbs. He felt like he was killing my project.
7. Don’t pick the wrong leaves. Those big ole leaves at the bottom of the plant look tempting, but let them be. Your herbs use those big leaves at the bottom like a solar panel. Those big leaves are absorbing the sunlight and sending it out through the rest of your plant.
8. Label your herbs. I had the kids grab some river rock for me. I used a little chalkboard paint and liquid chalk to create the label. I love how they turned out and they still look great. Last year we didn’t label all of them. I ran out of the river rocks and by the time I grabbed a few more I forgot which was basil and which was sage. Lets just say the basil margarita tasted a little off.
11. Don’t start from scratch. This is probably my most important tip and hack. Don’t start with the seed. Let the farmers do the real hard work by starting the growing processes. Go to your favorite plant store, buy the organic herbs, and just replant them. It’s so much easier and you won’t have to wait as long to enjoy your harvest.
10. Don’t throw away the end of your spring onion! We use a lot of spring/green onions in this house. Did you know that you can actually plant the end of your onion and it will start to grow? I had no idea until our wonderful sitter told us about this. Here’s where I admit to you all that she actually has taught me everything I know about my herb garden. We love her! You’ll be shocked at how fast they grow. Our onions are for sure the best growing plant in the garden. Lettuce and a number of other vegetables will do this as well.
Bonus Tip: This year we’re adding fruit trees to our yard. Limes, lemons, mandarins, and apples. You don’t need a large yard to do this. If you’re inpatient like we are, but a tree that is already growing fruit. It will cost a little more, but not buying all that fruit at the market will save me time and money.
Don’t forget to enjoy it! Make sure you take time to enjoy your garden. I go out almost everyday to check on my little herbs and vegetables. I take pride in the fact that we use them in our recipes and drinks. Is it really saving us money, probably not, but it does give me a sense of accomplishment.
While I’m out there tending my little seedlings my allergies can start to kick in. I always have my Dual Action Honey Lemon drops with me. They give me soothing relief from my cough. Can you name the ten swiss herbs in a Ricola® herb drop? You can learn more about Ricola® here. Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.