My last post was on how to plant an herb garden for your back porch.
Why is herb gardening on a disaster planning website?
Herbs are healthy. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Most supply a good amount of antioxidants, which are substances like vitamin C or E that destroy potentially damaging chemicals called free radicals in our body. Some herbs are antimicrobial and will help your body fight infection. If there is no medical care available and if you are healthy, you won’t need it. If you are injured or sick, you will heal quicker.
Herbs are tasty and interesting. Survival food is often boring. If you have seven herbs in your garden, you have seven different flavors for your beans and rice. You have seven flavors for your water or tea.
Herbs are cheap when you grow them yourself. If there is an economic downturn, your garden will save you money and make your cheap food more nutritious.
Herbs are renewable. If you are low on food, edible plants are lifesaving. As long as you water them, they will grow indefinitely.
Question: Why would I want to use fresh herbs? I have plenty of spices in my cupboard.
Answer: Do this. Pinch off a leaf of any fresh herb and taste it. Now sprinkle some of that dried herb from your spice can into your hand and taste it. Need I say more? NO comparison. Your food will taste ten times better with fresh herbs. You will impress your friends with your stellar cooking.
Question: Are fresh herbs more nutritious than herbs in my cupboard?
Answer: Nutrients in plants start breaking down after they are harvested. More nutrients are lost with drying. Even more nutrients are lost as the spice bottle sits in your cupboard for five years before you use it. Fresh herbs have the maximum amount of nutrients.
Question: How do I substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs in my recipes?
Answer: The rule of 3’s. For use in recipes: 3 parts fresh herb = 1 part dried herb
Question: What if I have too many plants?
Answer: Share them. Your friends will thank you. Dry them to use in the winter when they aren’t growing as fast. Search the internet for ways to dry them.
Question: Do they grow all winter?
Answer: Depends. Some, like cilantro and parsley, are annuals and die in the winter. Often they seed themselves and come back in the spring. Where I live rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, and chives all keep growing in the winter. They just slow down. If you have very cold winters, I don’t know the answer to that.
$0 to $40 for a planter. Zero if you have some scrap wood, a pallet or some sort of container lying around. I went to Bi-Mart and found plenty of fine choices $20 - $40. There were round barrel shaped planters and long rectangular planters of various sizes. The round one in the picture was $34
$1 to $3 per plant, depending on the size and store. They have seed packets for $1.99, but I can’t imagine needing to plant 100 seeds of basil. One or two plants of each kind are enough. As you harvest the herbs, they will grow back. If you have a large family or eat a lot of one kind of herb, then you may need more plants.
$0 to $10 for soil. Zero if you have a mulch pile or good soil in your yard. Otherwise buy some nice potting soil.