Disclosure: I felt the magic of swiss herbs in Ricola® Herb & Throat drops as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. #swissherbs The swiss herbs in Ricola® Herb & Throat 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.
When we moved into our new house last July, I felt over and underwhelmed by my new backyard. A good portion of our backyard is on a hillside and for the most part unusable. What were we going to do with this space? So for the last year we’ve just let it be.
One afternoon while I was whipping up one of my favorite mint flavored cocktails I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to just go into my backyard and pick my own mint?”
That’s when it hit me! Why wasn’t I using this space for herbs and vegetables?
I started researching right away. 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.
Below are some things I’ve learned along the way and want to share with you.
1. Decide what you’re going to grow. What do you use most often? Remember some plants actually help other plants grow and some even keep bugs away.
We started with mint, chives, lavender, cilantro and tomatoes. The lavender didn’t make it, but the chives and mint are doing well and my tomatoes and cilantro are still alive, but on life support.
Helpful Tip: You do not need to start from a seed. It is not cheating to buy the plant and just replant it!
2. Decide where you’re going to plant your herbs. Are you planting your garden in a garden box, in the yard, or in pots?
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.
I planted the tomatoes in an area where a fence offers stability. Like I said, they are on life support, but look, there are little tomatoes!
3. Don’t forget to water them, but not too much. Research your herbs, some 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. I think this may be the reason my cilantro is hanging on by a thin thread.
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 can admit it. 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.
9. 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 probably the best growing plant in the garden. Lettuce and a number of other vegetables will do this as well.
10. 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 Ricola® Herb & Throat 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.