Almost every morning, with the exception of the hottest months here in Florida, I step out onto my front porch and pick a few chives for my breakfast. This quick and easy access to fresh, organic herbs is unlike anything from a grocery store. By having my own herb garden I’m able to pick what I want when I want while saving money and not being wasteful. And it’s fairly easy to grow your own herb garden, which is why I would recommend it to any beginner gardener, even if you live in an apartment. While there are many benefits, let’s talk about the 5 benefits of growing your own herbs.
1. Great for Beginner Gardeners
As much as I love my vegetable garden, I really do think the best type of garden to start with is an herb garden. An herb garden takes minimal effort to get started and is easy to grow. Plus, you get the benefit of being able to consume something that is healthy for you.
Easy to Grow
Growing herbs is easier than growing vegetables and can even be easier than growing flowers. You can grow them indoors, in pots, or directly in the ground depending on how good your soil is. There are even hydroponic kits that you can purchase to grow herbs indoors like this AeroGarden. I personally like growing my herbs in pots on the front porch where they get morning sun. They don’t need much fertilizing, and they can handle a wide range of temperatures. Just a few steps out the front door in the morning and I have fresh chives to add to my scrambled eggs.
Minimal Effort to Get Started
Herb gardens require minimal effort to get started, which is one of the benefits of growing your own herbs. You can start with seeds or use transplants. While there are some vegetables that are sensitive to being transplanted, herbs are fairly hardy to transplant and will provide you with fresh herbs instantly. You can easily plant multiple herbs in a single pot. Even if you don’t have a yard, or live in an apartment, you can have your own herb garden. A pot, some potting soil, and seeds or transplants are really all you need to get started. This is unlike vegetable gardens where, if you want a decent harvest, you’re going to have to dedicate more space to grow. You can purchase transplants or seeds at nurseries, places like Lowes or Home Depot, and even online. My personal favorite place to purchase seeds is Botanical Interests.
2. Improves Health
When you have your own herb garden you can grow your own healthy, fresh, organic herbs that can improve your health in numerous ways. Building your immune system, detoxifying, and helping with common colds, digestion, headaches, and stress are just a few things that herbs can help with.
Herbs are Healthy for Your Body
While herbs can be used to add flavor to your dishes, they can also provide a lot of health benefits for your body. Medicinal herbs can be used in numerous ways including teas, tinctures, essential oils, and salves.
Some medicinal herbs include calendula, chamomile, echinacea, feverfew, goldenrod, lavender, lemon balm, oregano, peppermint, St Johns-wort, and yarrow. While there are many more herbs, here are a few of specific herbs and how you can benefit from them:
- Peppermint can be used in teas to boost your mood, improve focus, ease nausea, and help digestion.
- Oregano is full of antioxidants and is known for being an immune booster, antifungal, and antibacterial.
- Cilantro is a great herb for the detoxification of toxic heavy metals.
While you can purchase the products of medicinal herbs like teas or tinctures, you can also make your own, which adds to the benefits of growing your own herbs. If you’re interested in making your own, you can check out Jen at My Healthy Homemade Life. She has a lot of herb spotlights that explain the benefits and how you can use them.
Spending Time in a Garden is Healthy
While consuming herbs can improve your health, actually tending to your garden is another one of the benefits of growing your own herbs. Gardening can give you the opportunity to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle. When you garden you’re able to get fresh air, vitamin D, and exercise. All of these things and more can lead to a healthier life. It’s also good for your mental health to unplug from technology and the daily stresses of life to do something that’s more therapeutic. To learn more about the health benefits of gardening, check out 5 Health Benefits of Gardening.
3. Saves Money
One of the benefits of growing your own herbs is saving money. You can save money by growing your own herbs, and you can also save money by wasting less food. You don’t need to typically purchase a lot of herbs from the grocery store to see a return on investment by starting an herb garden.
Save Money Growing Your Own Herbs
Have you ever purchased herbs? Chances are you have. Whether you’ve purchased fresh herbs or dried herbs, they can cost a decent amount. And if your purchase organic herbs, that can increase an already high price.
Growing herbs, however, can be fairly cheap. In fact, herbs are probably the most economical plant you can grow. While growing vegetables can also be cost-efficient, it can take some more startup costs along with a bit of a learning curve. You can purchase a packet of seeds for only a few dollars, and grow your herbs for years, and possibly indefinitely if you take the time to learn how to save seeds from your herb plants.
If you purchase herbs from the grocery store even a couple of times during the year, an herb garden may help you save money. This Herb Seed Collection averages less than $2.50 per seed packet. I don’t recall ever purchasing herbs from the grocery store at that price. And you get WAY more growing your own.
Waste Less Growing Your Own Herbs
While I dislike spending a lot of money on a product that I wouldn’t even define as premium, I dislike it, even more, when I’m unable to use my whole purchase. When I have had to purchase herbs, it’s been for a specific dish. And while there may be leftovers the next day, I certainly don’t plan on making the same dish with the same herbs during the same week. This inevitably means the majority of the herbs I purchase are going to end up in my compost bin. And even though it isn’t much, I don’t like being wasteful when it comes to food.
4. Provides Fresh Herbs
Growing your own herbs can provide you with fresher herbs than you could ever purchase at the store. And growing your own herbs will provide you with a constant supply to add flavor to your dishes. Having multiple fresh herbs to choose from will add variety to your diet that doesn’t take the fun out of eating healthy.
Provides Fresher Herbs Than Store-Bought
Growing your own herbs can redefine the definition of fresh. Have you ever purchased herbs from your local grocery store? How often do you purchase an herb where a good portion of the leaves are already wilted? For me, this has always been common. Store-bought herbs are picked days or weeks before you see them in your store, making it impressive that any are still intact. And if you want organic herbs, they may be in even worse shape by the time you can purchase them. When I’m making a dish that requires a certain herb that I don’t already have, I always feel like I’m wasting the majority of my money purchasing herbs because half of them are already wilted.
Adds Flavor to Your Dishes
Not only can store-bought herbs be wilted upon purchases, but they can also be less than par in the flavor department. Freshly picked herbs have the most flavor and nutrients. When you pick your own fresh, organic herbs minutes before adding them to a dish, you can taste that fresh flavor. This is unlike the herbs you can get at your local grocery store.
Spices and herbs really add flavor to a meal. Culinary herbs include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. For example, this Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe uses basil and oregano. By having herbs on hand in your garden, you can add a lot of variety to your dishes with the different flavors. This can ensure that a healthy diet isn’t a bland diet.
5. Educational Opportunity
Growing your own herbs give both you and your children the opportunity to learn. For children, it can help teach where food comes from and the importance of not being wasteful. For adults, it can help teach valuable life lessons like the importance of patience and not giving up.
Teaches Children About Food
One of the benefits of growing your own herbs is having the teaching opportunity with your children. Having an herb garden is a great way to teach children where food comes from. This connection to food can help children understand how food is grown and the effort it takes. It can also lead to healthy eating habits, not being wasteful, and help children become more environmentally conscious by growing organically. Getting children involved in taking care of the garden can also be a great opportunity for family time and connecting.
Teaching children about where food comes from, the importance of not being wasteful, and enjoying healthy food is all very important. But it’s not just children who benefit from the educational opportunity that a garden provides.
Teaches You Life Lessons
A garden can teach us, adults, a lot, too. Lessons about patience, how to deal with failure, and an understanding that we can only control so much. These are just a few things I’ve learned when growing a garden.
Three months can feel like a long time to wait for your vegetables to grow. Interestingly enough, there are some days when you walk outside and it’s as if overnight your produce appears. I think life’s a lot like that, too. Sometimes you put a lot of effort into something, and you don’t see much gain from it. And then, almost overnight, you start to see the fruit of your labor. You’re reminded of the importance of all that work you had been putting in, even if you didn’t see it at the start. Your patience and persistence pay off. I’m a big believer in lifelong learning, and a garden is a great classroom for it.
With so many benefits of growing your own herbs, I hope you consider starting your own herb garden. If you already have an herb garden, then I encourage you to explore some new herbs to add to your collection.
Do you have a favorite herb that you cook with or grow? Comment below!