A kitchen garden can produce fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs for delicious healthy eating. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, but with the right tools and a little time, you will be developing your green thumb.
If you love gardening as a hobby, why not start with growing some herbs to add that much needed spice and health to everyday dishes. All you need is a window garden getting at least 4 or 5 hours of direct light from a sunny window. Through this, you connect with nature, and the herbs plucked fresh from your small garden are more beneficial from the ones at the grocery store as plants tend to lose almost 50% of their nutritional value within hours of harvesting.
Setting Up the Kitchen Garden
Provide adequate light: Eight or more hours of direct sun or bright artificial light.
Select the proper soil: Soil selection and how you fertilize it will depend upon the herbs that you chose. Growing them fast can result in lack of essential nutrient oils.
Correctly set up your containers: You will need to support the plant by external nutrients in soil due to the limited soil in containers. Allow for quick draining of water through adequate holes and layer with coir to allow the soil to breathe.
Know when to water: Avoid overzealous watering and know when the plant needs moisture. Water the container until some water comes out of the bottom, but don’t over-water.
Start feeding your plants after 10 or so days: After the initial 10 days feed with half-strength nutrients every two weeks to provide nutrients to the roots.
Now that you know what is needed to start, choose the herbs whose seeds you can easily procure and manage in the space that you have. EHC brings you some herbs that you can start with.
Its leaves, flowers as well as oil are utilized for treatment of many ailments such as cough, asthma, acne, etc. Thyme has long been used in treating diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach aches. It also helps relieve upper respiratory disorders like bronchitis, whooping cough, and soothes painful throat. It is also a well known cure for bedwetting and preventing excess fluid retention in the body. Thyme has proven to be a great cure for hypertension (high blood pressure) and in treating colon and breast tumors.
Parsley is full of health benefits due to the presence of vitamin C, B12, K and A in it. Thus it is vital for the health of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves, lungs, heart, kidneys and for adequate clotting of blood. Its oil is the best for the prevention of alopecia (hair loss). Parsley oil is a good treatment for dry skin as it provides softness to the skin. It not only treats diarrhea but also assists in the absorption of fats. It incites the emission of estrogens that aid in fighting post menopausal symptoms. The fact that it has notable quantities of iron in it, parsley’s use can inhibit anemia and exhaustion.
It is used for the purpose of blocking out horrific odors; promote revival from ailments, and warding off bugs and pests. If the oil of spearmint is placed on a handkerchief and inhaled, it assists in treatment of cold. Soaked and softened mint leaves are massaged for the relief of aches and pains including headaches and migraines.
The oil of basil hinders the development of numerous microbes, the majority of which have become defiant against antibiotics. Basil oil contains eugenol which offers anti-inflammatory features similar to those of synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen; thus basil is a natural cure for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel ailments. Due to the presence of Vitamin A in it, Basil assists in inhibiting build up of cholesterol in the blood vessels. Magnesium existing in the basil assists the heart and blood vessels to loosen thereby augmenting the flow of blood.
Coriander assists in adequate performance of liver and promotes healthy digestion due to its extraordinary anti-oxidant features. It is good for the treatment of sinusitis and the headache associated with this condition. It is also excellent for management of cold, flu and the burning sensation associated with inflammation of the urinary bladder secondary to infection.
Lemongrass has anti-malignant features in addition to possession of pain-relieving and anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It can make our body free of toxins due to its diuretic and sweat promoting qualities.
The oil of oregano has antiviral and antioxidant qualities (hence serves as an anti-aging agent). On account of its anti-fungal characteristics, it is used for the treatment of pushy fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm etc. Due to its anti-inflammatory traits, it heals the ailments that have inflammation as an essential feature e.g. arthritis, asthma, sinusitis, psoriasis, hepatitis, irritable bowel syndrome etc.
Garlic possesses an antibiotic quality that matches that of Penicillin. It slays a variety of worms, lice, fleas and bugs. The efficacy of garlic increases when it is used along with Cayenne, Ginger, Ginseng and Parsley. Not only is it a blood thinner but also purges and sanitizes the large gut; it also detoxifies the liver. It is an adequate treatment for mild hypothyroidism due to the presence of high quantities of iodine in it.
This perennial comes in both trailing and upright forms. 'Blue Boy' is more compact than regular rosemary. For best flavor, choose a more compact upright variety such as 'Taylor's Blue' or 'Salem.' Even though rosemary enjoys drier conditions, it is imperative that the soil is never allowed to dry out completely or the plant may die.
A grass-like perennial herb with a delicate onion flavor. 'Grolau' chives is a prolific producer for windowsill growing. Garlic chives has a mild garlic taste. Cut small bunches of leaves back to the soil level when harvesting to keep new ones coming.
Aromatic annual best grown for its leaves when grown indoors. Sow several pots at different stages (like cilantro) for a continual supply. 'Fernleaf' dill is a compact variety ideal for growing indoors.