Recently I delivered a great Workshop series called ‘Fun with Herbs’ throughout the Sunshine Coast Libraries. I’ve received wonderful feedback from many participants and I thoroughly enjoyed every session. Thank You to everyone who attended.
After delivering Workshops I like to compile the information from the presentation into an article for everyone to read. This helps as a reminder of the information covered during the workshop, for everyone who attended.
Herbs were originally known as herbaceous plants (soft fleshy stems and foliage) and used by Herbalists or anyone wanting to improve their health. Today many plants are considered herbs or healing plants and are used in many ways…
- Companion plants
- Support plants
- Natural fibres
Some common herbs we grow are;
Basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, coriander, chives, rosemary, tarragon, mint varieties and lemon balm
Many of these have medicinal properties. Others include;
borage, comfrey, turmeric, lemongrass, pineapple sage, herb robert, gotu kola and so many more. Even though it’s not a herb, I like to use lemon scented myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) for edible, medicinal and ornamental purposes, so I consider this a very useful plant to grow !!
Grow Your Own Herbs !!
At the Workshops I demonstrated methods of growing herbs, and other plants, from seed sowing and vegetative propagating.
For more information on sowing seeds successfully read my article here - http://soiltosupper.com/simple-steps-to-sowing-seeds/
Growing new plants from cuttings, or small pieces of plants, is quite easy once you know all the simple steps.
Here’s my easy steps to growing more plants for free…well almost free !!
- Take cuttings from healthy plants, early in the morning or late afternoon
- Have all equipment ready to go – pots, propagating mix, sharp secateurs, small plastic cups half filled with diluted liquid fertiliser, hand sprayer filled with diluted liquid fertiliser, plastic tray lined with newspaper, plant labels and marker pen
- Cut pieces of plant into small short stems, trim large leaves in half (to reduce moisture loss through leaves) and remove any flowers, buds and old leaves
- Place cuttings into cups until ready to pot
- Once all pieces are ready, fill pots with suitable mixture
- Dip each cutting in honey before potting to encourage root growth and reduce bacterial growth, as honey has anti-bacterial properties.
- Using a stick, make long hole into potting mixture and place stems of plants into mixture in pots, covering lower leaf nodes if possible
- Spray with water sprayer and place in tray
Once all pieces are potted place the tray in a shadehouse or under the shade of a tree or shrubs. The best position is for morning sun, up to about midday, then shade from hot afternoon sun. Spray twice a day to keep moist, until small white roots appear from drainage holes. If plants are rotting or dying, cut back on watering if they’re too wet.
The new plants are ready for the garden when they have developed a strong root system. Gently ease plant from pot and check on the roots before planting.
MicroGreens – Itty Bitty Little Leaves !!
A fun way to grow delicious herbs and edible plants is with MicroGreens.
The great benefits of growing and using MicroGreens are:
The method for growing MicroGreens is the same as sowing seeds, just using a larger container and sowing many little seeds. Some ideas of delicious plants to grow are parsley, coriander, radish, kale, any greens really, sunflowers, snow peas, chives, wheatgrass, carrots and any other edible plants. Always check the foliage is edible before sowing and eating and use organic heirloom seeds if possible.
MicroGreens are a fabulous garnish for any meal !!
Think outside the square when considering containers to grow herbs and other plants in. I love to use old recycled items and up-cycle many old things, like bathtubs, old wheel barrows and even my boys old workboots !!
The benefits to growing in containers are;
- Great for small spaces
- Easy to move
- Quick access for picking
- Some Herbs grow best in containers
- Moisture retention
Herbs Spirals are a beautiful way to showcase a range of herbs. They are easy to construct and suit any garden.
Here’s a lovely example of a herb spiral…
Cooking with Herbs
The many ways herbs can be used are;
- Sauces and relish
- In all meals
- Great for kids
- Great smells and flavours
Herbs for Health
Used for centuries Herbs have been the basis for medicines throughout the world.
Pharmaceuticals began with plants and some are still used.
Get plenty of information before using plants as medicines and wellbeing.
- Brew in tea
- In other applications, eg honey
- Creams and skincare
- In oil base
- In baths
Here’s my home-made cough medicine made with Lemon Thyme and Honey.
For more information on growing and using herbs read ‘How can I use Herbs in my daily life?‘ by Isabell Shipard 2003 www.herbsarespecial.com.au
Thanks to Queensland Organics for the samples of Organic Xtra that everyone received. A fantastic product for our gardens !! www.qldorganics.com.au
Also Thank You to the Sunshine Coast Council for lovely Library venues and very helpful staff and a big Thank You for the team at Living Smart for organising these great workshop series www.livingsmartqld.com.au
To purchase seeds and other gardening equipment visit www.greenharvest.com.au
Please contact me if you have any questions and also sign up for the Soil to Supper Club (in the box on the right) to receive Special Offers, articles and up to date information.
Happy Herb Growing !!
© cath manuel 2013