It is not easy to grow your own herb plants in your home garden because this requires a lot of effort for the herbs to grow and flourish. But if you really take time to care for the herbs, they will give you a lot of advantages because they have so many uses.
If you are planning to use the herbs, you should harvest them first but before doing so, you should consider the time you will harvest a certain herb. The weather at a certain place affects the good harvest of a herb.
Some herbs are affected by the season especially during harvest time. Their essential oils can be dispersed by the wind and the heat. It is already a common practice that herbs are harvested during dry season because herbs have fewer oils during the wet season.
If you harvest a herb, you only get a certain part of it and not the entire plant. Harvesting the herb does not mean you have to use it at once at the time you picked them but you can preserve them by keeping it in the refrigerator. In harvesting, you have to inspect for insects and leaves that are damaged.
Typically the owner of a home herb garden knows that there are three ways to preserve their herbs for later use; drying, freezing, or preserving them in a medium like salt or vinegar.
In order to dry herbs you need to bundle six to twelve stems together and remove any foliage near the base of the stems. You can secure the bundle with string. The home herb garden enthusiasts protects the bundle in a cool location away from sunlight.
If you are looking to dry individual leaves you can place them on a screen or a rack. Remember to turn them often in order for them to dry properly.
Some people who have a home herb garden have turned to using appliances like dehydrators, ovens or microwaves to dry herbs as well although these are less satisfactory ways.
Freezing herbs is a fairy simple way to preserve herbs. Cut the herbs into inch pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Once the herbs are frozen, you can place them together in a bag and store them in the freezer until use.
The third way to preserve herbs in home herb gardens is through a medium. For instance, you can cover herbs like chopped mint, basil or tarragon with vinegar and it will be preserved for several months. Or you can make a flavored salt to preserve herbs by alternating layers of fresh herbs between salt. When completely dry separate the brown herb from the flavored salt and store it in an airtight container.
Of course, the home herb gardener often use herbs fresh right out of the garden. Take care cleaning the herbs before they are placed fresh in recipes.
In order to clean fresh herbs place them in a bowl filled with cool water. If there is a large quantity of herbs you can use the sink. Place about two tablespoons of salt in the water. The salt in the water will drive away insects without damaging the plant. Remove the herbs from the water and dry them in a salad spinner.
Herbs have different types. They also have different uses and different ways on how to harvest them. Whatever herb you have in your own garden, you should have the proper knowledge and background for them to be used and cared properly.
By Guest Writer: Jack Grant