Posts tagged: herb garden

How To Grow Your Own Lavender

How To Grow Your Own LavenderPhotos – © visuall2, Anna-Mari West, Carly Hennigan –

Lavender is a very popular evergreen herb that is native to the Mediterranean, South-western Europe and neighbouring parts of Africa and Asia. It has been in use for millennia as a perfume, flavouring and medicine. There are many different species, the commonest in cultivation being Lavandula angustifolia or “English Lavender” – there are many cultivars now available so it’s possible to grow plants of various sizes with a wide range of flower shapes and colours. [1]

The scent of lavender is well-known to have a calming effect. Did you know that it will deter deer from your garden and can be used to keep clothes moths out of your wardrobe? Please see our herbal page on the many uses and benefits of lavender for more details:

Growing Lavender: In western climates it is considered a hardy perennial that lives for around 10 years and grows into a small shrub, although it is grown as an annual in hot, dry climates. English lavender grows well in US zones 5-8; in dry soils or in the far south it is recommended that you grow French or Spanish lavender as they can tolerate drought more easily.

First of all it’s important to find the right location and soil type to grow your plants – lavender prefers well-drained, poor or moderately fertile soil, preferably chalky and with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, so add some gravel and organic matter if your soil is heavy and lime if it is acidic. It needs full sun to grow at its best but too much humidity can still cause disease so give the plants room for the air to circulate freely and plant them on a raised mound in humid areas. [2]

Propagation by cuttings is the most common and reliable method – either from softwood [3] in early summer or hardwood cuttings [4] in late fall. Cuttings will produce true cultivars.

Growing from seed is more difficult as the seeds take several weeks to germinate and can be affected by damping off. If you collect your own seed from cultivars, the new plants will vary from the mother plant. It’s best to sow in the spring and provide a temperature of 70 degrees. Patience is needed as the plants grow slowly! [2]

It is crucial that the ground is kept clear around your plants as they do not compete well with weeds. Regular mulching with compost around (but not touching) the plant stem or frequent weeding will do the trick. Occasional watering is necessary in longer spells of dry weather. [5]

Pruning will extend the life of your plants by keeping them compact. Harvest the leaves and flowers on a dry day in the cool of the morning but be careful not to cut them back to the old wood as it will not regenerate well. [6]

Further Reading:

Harvesting And Using Dandelion Roots

Harvesting And Using Dandelion Roots
Harvesting And Using Dandelion Roots. Image – (with permission)

We discovered a fantastic page over at Common Sense Home that gives a tutorial on how to harvest and use dandelion roots. The link follows after our introduction to the topic. We’ve also included several other links to other pages on dandelions so that you can learn all about this interesting and useful plant!

Dandelions, the wonderful yellow flowers that are adored by children and cursed by lawn owners, are in fact one of the most versatile of herbs – with numerous uses for the flowers, leaves and even the roots! It’s a sad fact that they are sprayed and destroyed in such great numbers by people who have no knowledge of their real value and virtues.

Not only can dandelion plants be used in an astonishingly wide variety of delicious recipes but they have a tremendous number of uses in herbal medicine – and have been employed by herbalists since very ancient times. Dandelion is commonly listed in ancient herbals (this link is to our giant “master list” of ancient herbal textbooks).

A search of Pubmed shows over 500 scientific papers reporting on the various properties of dandelion and there are some very interesting results. A few of the studies have found antidepressant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects for dandelion or its extracted components. A new 2014 study found evidence that one dandelion species (Taraxacum mongolicum) had an effect against Hepatitis B in human cells.

There are many, many more. Pubmed is my standard “go to” source for herbal research and a fast way to catch up on the actual scientific work that has been done.

Here are some more interesting dandelion links from our website: – our main dandelion “mega page” with herbal uses, scientific studies and records of dandelion from old herbal texts.
How To Make Violet And Dandelion “Spring Tonic” Honey
40 Amazing Things To Do With Dandelions – check this page out for a giant list of awesome dandelion recipes and more! 🙂

Important note – if you are going to harvest and use dandelions, be sure that they haven’t been sprayed with weedkiller. Dandelion is one of the plants that is often targeted by the brainwashed sprayers of evil herbicides, so you might be best off collecting dandelion roots from your own organic garden… and of course wash your harvest carefully.

Ok here’s the link to the full Harvesting And Using Dandelion Roots tutorial: Enjoy! 🙂

Top 16 Edible Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Top 16 Edible Plants You Can Grow Indoors
Top 16 Edible Plants You Can Grow Indoors. Graphic © Photo © Adobe Stock 10517173 (under license).

Micro gardening is all the rage and for many very good reasons! We discovered an amazing page listing 16 of the best edible plants that you can grow indoors. It is a true “mega page” with tons of useful tips – and it definitely raises the bar, so we thought it worth sharing. The link is after our commentary.

Many people have been discouraged from growing their own food because they think they will need a house in the country or an allotment garden – however it’s amazing what you can grow with a nice windowsill or even some “vertical gardening” techniques.

Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider:

1) It’s the most local produce you can possibly have. Using local produce reduces resource consumption i.e. packaging and fuel use.

2) You get to control what goes into the plants and you can choose non-GMO heirloom varieties. (Here is an amazing List of 100+ Suppliers of Heirloom Seeds.) What better way to be sure of the purity of your ingredients?
3) You can go for “ultimate freshness” by picking what you need there and then!

4) You can grow some really interesting plants because the inside of your home most likely stays frost free – like for example dwarf mandarin oranges – which make a lovely house plant for most of the time, with the bonus of some delicious fruit!

5) You can create your own “living herb rack” and then just harvest what you need every time you cook. Imagine the delight of having fresh herbs “on tap”…

6) You get a stylish and attractive addition to your home, which also makes a great conversation topic and will surely impress your friends when you have them over for dinner. 😉

Ok, here is the link to the list of 16 best plants:

Enjoy! 🙂

ps. Here’s something else also that may be of interest: 16 Veggies You Can Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps