What’s So Great About…Planting Your Own Herb Garden

What’s So Great About…Planting Your Own Herb Garden

No back yard?  Containers will do just fine thank you very much.

Sadly, gardening isn’t a hereditary gene. My garden contains whatever the previous owner of my home planted and so it shall remain until the kids move out. The one thing I do manage to grow, however, is an herb garden. We have been repeatedly told that getting kids involved in food preparation will help them make healthy choices and encourage experimenting with new tastes. This includes taking the kids to the market – better yet, a farm – or having them help chop, measure and mix. Getting kids into a garden is no different, even if it is just a container full of herbs.  The other added bonuses of growing your own herbs?  It’s inexpensive, involves zero pesticides and no waste ie. watery bags of unidentifiable green mush in the bottom of your so-called crisper.

In addition to the lessons a garden can provide, fresh herbs are terrific for adding flavour, colour and a nutritional lift to your meal. And, you just might (fingers crossed) get your fussy eater to leave the green leafy bits on a pizza if they’ve had a hand in growing it. My garden contains herbs I use on a regular basis. They also just happen to be easy to grow (read, not even I can screw this up).  These little herbs make some pretty big health claims from combating bad breath, treating acne or helping prevent cancer.  How much does one have to consume in order to achieve optimal results? Hard to say.  But I look at a handful of herbs like I look at a natural multivitamin:  a great way to top up on the good stuff.

Parsley:

Curly leaves or flat, this herb is worth adding to the pot. Parsley is a great source of Vitamin C,  it is also rich in vitamins A and K, iron, folic acid, and Chlorophyll. Parsley has been credited with everything from being a detoxifier and blood purifier to eliminating bad breath, assisting with regulating and reducing menstrual symptoms and boosting your immune system. Parsley acts as an antibacterial, an anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant. The fact that parsley goes well with almost everything means that chopping up a handful and adding it to whatever makes sense.

Basil:

A pretty little plant, basil boasts a health profile similar to parsley. It is very high in Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting, Vitamin A and, to a lesser extent than parsley, Vitamin C. Basil contains notable amounts of manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium. It too has been credited as having effective anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Cilantro:

Cilantro tends to be a love/hate herb. If you like the flavour, you’ll be pleased to learn of its ability to assist in removing heavy metals and toxins from the body. According to Dr. Group’s website www.globalhealingcenter.com “The chemical compounds in cilantro actually bind to the heavy metals, loosening them from the tissues, blood and organs. Cilantro’s chemical compounds then aid to transport these harmful substances out of the body through elimination.” Cilantro is also a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium and manganese. It too is credited with easing digestion woes, boosting your immune system, fighting bacteria, and behaving as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Interestingly, it has also been shown to combat salmonella infection.

Regardless of the age of your children, they’ll get a kick out of planting, caring for and then harvesting what they’ve grown. My kids are small, so I had to monitor the planting, but the watering and harvesting will largely be left to my 4-year-old daughter. She loves collecting the leaves and returning to the kitchen with her freshly foraged herbs. I recall  being sent out back with the scissors as a teenager, and nothing makes me happier today than plucking a little of this, and a little of that and adding it to whatever is cooking. Well, the icy glass of Chablis makes me a bit happier, but only a bit, I didn’t grow the grapes after all.

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1 Comment

  1. Terra
    May 25, 10:28 Reply

    Great post! I am going to plant our herb garden today.

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