Learn more about how to grow culinary and medicinal Herbs and the kinds of garden designs and containers you can grow in.

3 Herbs to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Do you feel stressed or anxious on a regular basis? If so, spending time in nature outdoors, especially enjoying your garden as a peaceful sanctuary is one of the best ways to centre yourself and relax. Taking time out to listen to nature sounds like birds and bees, watch plants grow and thrive, and experience the colours, aromas and beauty around you can help lessen life’s worries and put life in perspective.

3 Herbs to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

I’ve discovered many herbs can also provide relief. One of the aspects of growing herbs that I find so beneficial is not only using them for flavour, but for their medicinal benefits too.

Grow a Home Herb Pharmacy Garden

There are many herbs that are easy to grow in your own ‘home pharmacy’ garden for every day relief of common ailments including anxiety and stress.

These herbs are three of my favourites and can also be combined into a relaxing herbal tea.

1. Tulsi, Sacred or Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum)

In warm climates, grow Tulsi Basil as a perennial or as an annual in cold and temperate climates.

Use Tulsi or Holy Basil in a herbal tea to help ease anxiety, stress and adrenal fatigue. Brew up a few fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon of dried leaves as a herb tea to aid digestion, calm nerves, reduce tension and stress. You can also add your other favourite herbs.

Tulsi, sacred holy basil herb is one of the best herbs to reduce stress

Tulsi, sacred holy basil herb is a valuable addition to your garden

Cautions: Tulsi basil is a uterine stimulant so avoid if pregnant or seek medical advice.


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New Guide to Using Kitchen Herbs eBook

I have a lot of projects on the go each year. From speaking at events, presenting workshops, coaching local clients to grow their gardens, to writing, donating time in my community, growing food for my family and my online education work.

But this year, I finished a project I’m really proud of. It had been sitting there for a while as the ‘seed’ of an idea, but I needed a huge push to make it happen. The only way to do that is set a deadline. How do you make change in the world without setting a goal? Nothing like having a date to finish a book by to make you really focus!

My New Guide to Using Kitchen Herbs for Health eBook

It’s hard work. It takes dedication and very long hours. Planning, nurturing, thought and time. It’s like carrying a baby for months and putting huge effort into it, until finally it’s time to deliver and birth it into the world! A real labour of love.

So, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes a little, into my private world and why I wanted to write this new eBook and how it came about.

Growing up with Herbs

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Easy Guide to Growing Basil

How to Plant, Grow, Use and Harvest Basil

Easy Guide to Growing Basil - How to Grow Basil + Planting, Using & Harvesting Tips

Why Grow Basil?

As a gardener and cook, I couldn’t bear to have a garden without Basil. This fragrant herb is not only grown for its flavour but also its many health benefits. I use it in our kitchen as much for its delicious taste as I do for its medicinal properties. Interested in growing basil? Try it in a pot, garden or on your kitchen bench as sprouts or microgreens. Every year, I allocate ‘prime real estate’ space to basil in pots, as well as around my garden. Read on for how you can use this versatile herb.

 

Basil Varieties – Which Basil should you Grow?

Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). Like its mint ‘cousins’, basil comes in a large range of aromatic varieties, with flavours to please even the fussiest taste buds. Annual varieties will last you a season and then provide you with free seeds. Perennial cultivars last much longer and are even better value. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sweet Basil and Genovese are two of the most popular basil choices for pesto as they have mild sweet flavours.

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Easy Guide to Growing Microgreens

Second only to sprouts, microgreens are the quickest food crop we urban gardeners can grow! If you have limited time, space or gardening skills let me introduce you to growing microgreens. You can learn how to grow microgreens – tasty, nutrient-dense ‘fast food’ – in just a few easy steps.

What are Microgreens?

With sprouts, you eat the fully germinated seed. I think of sprouts as the ‘babies’ of the plant world. A seed that bursts open with the first root and shoot(s). Whereas sprouts are seeds that germinate by being soaked and rinsed in water, microgreens are grown in soil.

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How to Plant out a Herb Garden

Have you ever ended up with ‘dried herb arrangements’ (those that died of thirst or sunburn)? Or herbs that rotted and drowned due to waterlogged roots?  Whether you want to plant herbs in a pot, garden bed or a herb spiral, my 5 Step Guide to Planting Herbs can help you successfully choose the best position and maintain your herb garden.

How to Plant out a Herb Garden

How to Plant out a Herb Garden

In this article I also share key tips on where to plant herbs so they thrive. Understanding the kind of microclimate each herb prefers, can make all the difference to growing them successfully! So ‘dig in’!

 

Lushly planted mature herb spiral | The Micro Gardener

“The construct itself gives variable aspects and drainage, with sunny dry sites for oil-rich herbs such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, and moist or shaded sites for green foliage herbs such as mint, parsley, chives, and coriander.” – Bill Mollison

 

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4 Step Guide to Building a Herb Spiral

Want to make your own vertical herb spiral garden? This compact space saving design can be made with just a few basic steps.

Construction materials and methods vary. So after deciding on the best position and gathering your materials, you can have one built the same day.

Stone filled gabion walls are an elegant twist on this herb spiral | The Micro Gardener

Depending on your budget and taste, herb spirals can be made very economically or be quite elaborate like this one with stone filled gabion walls.

 * [The original link to this image (via Cara-Ornamentals) is no longer available. I have no control over this & apologise for any inconvenience but you’ll find alternative resources below.]

If you like this particular design and want to learn to make the curved wire baskets, see the end of this post for videos and wire basket suppliers for Gabion Herb Spirals. These are some basic instructions for making a gabion wall or visit BlondeMafia or Garden Drum. More instructional videos for gabions are here and here. For the tutorial steps, read on!
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15 Benefits of a Herb Spiral in Your Garden

Herb Spiral Design

Do you have limited sun, space or time to garden? Want a highly productive, energy efficient way to grow food?  Then consider a herb spiral design in your garden. Creating a Herb Spiral close to your kitchen might be your perfect solution.

 The Herb Spiral design is easily accessible from all sides: to plant, water, fertilise and harvest. This large long herb spiral has a dry microclimate at the top and a moist zone at the bottom. | The Micro Gardener

The Herb Spiral design is easily accessible from all sides: to plant, water, fertilise and harvest. This large long herb spiral has a dry microclimate at the top and a moist zone at the bottom.

What is a Herb Spiral?

The Herb Spiral is a highly productive and energy efficient, vertical garden design. You can stack plants horizontally AND vertically to maximise space. It’s a practical and attractive solution for urban gardeners. A herb spiral design is typically 1.5 – 2m (5 – 6.5ft) wide in diameter at the base and rises to 1.0 – 1.3m (3.2 – 4.2ft). The centre of the spiral is at the highest point. The spiral ramp provides a planting area large enough to fit in all your common culinary herbs.
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How to Grow & Use Nasturtiums

Have you heard the saying: “Be nasty to nasturtiums“?  There seems to be some truth to this, because these low-maintenance carefree herbs thrive in a poor, dry soil without a lot of water – or work.  This makes nasturtiums a plant of choice for many thrifty and busy gardeners!

 

How to Grow and Use Nasturtiums - Edible Flowers with Multiple Uses

How to Grow and Use Nasturtiums – Edible Flowers with Multiple Uses

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20 Reasons to Grow this Amazing Herb

Do you grow herbs? They can provide a whole heap of benefits from culinary to medicinal uses and even a splash of colour and fragrance. Some flowering herbs like nasturtiums really earn a special place in the garden because of the added value they provide. So check out these 20 uses for nasturtiums – they may surprise you!

20 reasons to grow nasturtiums

20 reasons to grow nasturtiums

 

Colourful nasturtiums are one herb that’s easy to fall in love with. This plant is an absolute winner in my book. Whilst many think of nasturtiums as just pretty flowers, these attractive herbs have an amazing array of benefits to offer you.

There are several types of nasturtium. The one I can never get enough of in our garden is ‘Tropaeolum majus’ (commonly known as Indian Cress).  Not ‘Nasturtium Officinale’ that grows in water and is often referred to as watercress!

Nasturtiums – More than just a pretty face!

Aside from stealing the limelight in any garden with their dazzling display of colour, nasturtiums are one of the most multi-functional plants you can grow.

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Need Herbs in a Hurry? Grow Rocket!

Want to learn to grow rocket? The humble herb known as Rocket or Arugula is one of the easiest, fastest foods to grow.  Perfect in pesto, delicious in dips … this slightly peppery green has many bonus health benefits. So dig in!

How to grow rocket tutorial - With both culinary and medicinal uses – try adding this easy-to-grow edible to your garden.

With both culinary and medicinal uses – try adding this easy-to-grow edible to your garden.

 

Why grow rocket?

‘Pocket Rocket’ is Packed with Incredible Health Benefits

  • According to Isabell Shipard in her informative book How Can I Grow Herbs in My Daily Life? rocket is a rich source of sulforaphane. A powerful anti-cancer, anti-microbial and even anti-diabetic compound.  It’s also a potent trigger for detoxifying blood and cells and helps promote production of cancer-preventative enzymes.
  • The fresh leaves are highly alkaline and rich in anti-oxidants.
  • The leaves contain phytochemicals that have protective and disease preventive properties. These include countering the carcinogenic effects of estrogen and helping protect against prostate, breast, cervical, colon and ovarian cancers, by their ability to inhibit cancer cell growth and the cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. (more…)