For parents, nothing is more important than the health of their spouse and kids. While they can rely on our family doctors to treat ailments, pains, and discomforts, they are responsible for keeping illnesses at bay and making sure everyone’s healthy and happy.
For some parents, that means combining conventional medicine with a balanced diet, regular physical activity, wellness habits, and sometimes, alternative medicine rooted in ingredients found in nature.
So if you’ve been looking up garden room ideas or looking to take up gardening, why not start a medicinal herb garden instead?
You’d be amazed to know that there are countless herbs and medicinal plants that you can easily grow in your backyard. So to get you started on your medicinal herb garden, follow some of these tips.
Pick the right spot
Choosing where to grow your herbs is an important decision as it will determine your project’s success. So it’s important that you pick a spot that has ample shade, good soil, and is away from your kids and pets, as some herbs can be toxic to pets. You should also pick a spot that has good drainage. If your soil isn’t good enough, you can plant your herbs in raised beds or pots.
Build a greenhouse
Some herbs will need to be started inside, while some might not tolerate cold weather, so it’s important to have a greenhouse. It doesn’t have to be big. Even a small sunroom will do, just as long as you have a space to start seeds and extend the growing season of cold-sensitive herbs. A greenhouse is also essential if you want to grow tropical herbs and medicinal plants like ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, ginseng, kaffir lime, and Cuban oregano.
Plan your herb garden
A herb garden takes meticulous planning. From the layout of your garden and your irrigation system down to harvesting and plant rotations, it’s important to know how you will operate it. Devour as many books as you can about medicinal herb gardens and gardening as a whole so you can establish a solid foundation of how things should work. You can also visit other herb gardens in your area to get useful tips and inspiration.
Research each herb’s care requirements
To grow healthy and vibrant herbs that won’t require any chemical fertilizers, it’s important to understand each herb’s care needs. That includes soil, water, and light requirements. To avoid getting overwhelmed, start with herbs with similar needs, then start adding more high-maintenance herbs as you go along. It pays to have a herb journal so you can note down each herb’s care needs and other tips like pruning, repotting, propagation, and so on.
Avoid planting too many herbs
Tending to a herb garden involves a lot of hard work. So you must be prepared to do backbreaking work day in and day out. If you have a busy schedule and are juggling work, house chores, and parenting, it would be wise to start with a few herbs first and add new ones at a time. Plus, it would be wasteful to start so many herbs and not look after them or nurse them back into health after a period of neglect.
Separate invasive herbs
Keep in mind that certain herbs grow and spread fast, which can stifle the growth of nearby plants and crowd the area. Invasive herbs include mint, catnip, lemon balm, tansy, and horseradish. You can stop the spread of these plants with regular pruning, or you can plant them in a pot or separate bed.
Decide what to do with each herb
It’s not enough that you know the medicinal value of each plant. It’s also important to study how to use them properly, how they react with other herbs, and how you can extract their purest essence for maximum efficacy. For example, leafy herbs are best eaten raw or dried and pounded into powder to make teas and concoctions, while herbs like lavender, citronella, and tansy make for potent essential oils. Flowering herbs like St. John’s worts and Valerian root can be turned into capsules or extracts.
At some point, you’ll need to go to a hospital to get stitches, visit a clinic to get tests done or take maintenance medications. But for minor, everyday concerns like rashes, mild coughs, headaches, nausea, toothache, and upset stomachs, you can find a cure in nature. With a herb garden, you can make your own concoctions for common health concerns. Plus, you can use some of your herbs for cooking and making your house smell nice. So if you’re looking to channel your inner “herbalist,” stock up on your apothecary tools, and be sure to follow these important steps.