Growing Herbs and Spices at Home
The following Information is all about growing Herbs and Spices.
Introduction To Herbs and Spices:
Herbs are the essential ingredient of kitchen. The fresher they are, the more aroma and taste we get from them. Organic farming of herbs in containers is getting popular with the increased usage of pesticides on the herbs available in the market. Herbs can be grown at home with very less effort.
There are various herbs like Coriander, Mint, Curry leaves, Tulsi, and Basil etc.. that can be grown in small containers.
Preparing for your mini garden in containers for Growing Herbs and Spices:
Herbs can be grown anywhere in the house like windows, balconyand terrace where ever there is good sunlight and air.
Prerequisites and Care for Growing Herbs and Spices:
- Containers: Herbs can be grown in small containers like Pots made of Terracotta, Cement, Plastic, Basket pots or any small containers. Terracotta pots are ecofriendly and the tiny pores in it helps soil to get proper air.
- Light: Herbs need good sunlight to grow well. Containers must be placed where you get ample sunlight.
- Water: Herbs need watering on regular basis to maintain moisture in the soil.
- Draining: As we grow plants in containers, excess water can damage soil and tinder roots of the plants. Containers must have proper holes to drain excess water.
- Soil: Soil in the containers must be rich in nutrients. Add natural compost to boost the nutrients. Soil must be filled loosely that helps easy penetration of roots.
- Space: Herbs need adequate place to grow. Plant the herbs with gap between them. This helps the plants to get ample air circulation.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Coriander/Cilantro :
Coriander or Cilantro is the most prominent herb that is a part of everyday kitchen. It is used in many dishes for its aroma and taste. Dishes look incomplete without garnishing with Coriander. Every part of Coriander plant is edible. Fresh leaves and the dried seeds of coriander plant are used in cooking. Coriander leaves can be consumed either raw or cooked.
Planting coriander is very easy. Sow coriander seeds on moist soil and keep watering moderately. Plant glows to around 6-12 inches. Harvesting starts in 3-4 weeks. Leaves can be harvested on demand and plant grows back with fresh leaves. Harvesting can be done for few months if proper care is taken.
- Coriander is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and many other vitamins. It is good for digestion and helps in improving various functions of digestive system.
- Coriander is antioxidant and contains anti – inflammatory properties making it helpful in treating many disorders.
- Coriander lowers bad Cholesterol and improve good cholesterol.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Mint /Pudina:
Mint is very popular leaf herb that belongs to family of Lamiaceae. There are around 18 species that belong to Lamiaceae family but spearmint is the most popular variety used in cooking and is called pudina. Mint is very popular mouth freshener and widely used in many mouth freshener products. Fresh or dried mint leaves can be used to get the flavor of mint. Mint leaves can be plucked and used in cooking. Fresh leaves grow from the remaining sprig.
Mint spreads over the area in very short time. Couple of plants from nursery can be good enough to spread over a big pot. Mint can be grown from seeds or from existing plants. There are 3 ways to grow Mint.
- Growing from seeds bought from any nursery. Sow seed and wait for the sprouts. This is slight difficult as all varieties of mint don’t grow easily from seeds.
- Mint plant can be grown from existing mint plant. Cut a 4-5 inches sprig from existing plant and keep it under water with major part under Remove any leaves on sprig that is under water. Within a week tiny roots will appear on the sprig. Plant the sprig after a week after roots appearing on it.
- Get a runner from existing plant. A runner is a long stem that grows away from current plant. Dig it carefully and transplant it into pot.
- Mint taken with tea is used to treat Nasal congestion.
- Mint is used to treat dental health.
- Used in medicines for improving digestion.
- Used to treat skin, pains and many other health issues.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Chillies:
Chilli is a universal spice that can be used in different ways as fresh, dried, pickled or powdered.There are close to 80 varieties of Chillies around the world. Chilli plants start yielding after approximately 14-16 weeks after planting. Once the plants starts yielding, they can grow Chillies throughout the year.
Chillies love warm weather and regular watering. There are few important tips for producing plentiful crops. Chillies grow well in full sun, make sure you place your container in a sunny area with moderate winds.
Chillies can be grown by sowing seeds or planning seedlings. Select a pot and fill it with a good quality potting mix, Seeds can be scattered direct or seedlings can be transferred into the pot and should be watered well. Chilli plants bushes out and need space between them. Seedlings must be planted with at least 6-10 inches space between them.Chillies require constant moisture. Chilies’ starts with small, white flowers which later developed as a chilly. During average summer conditions they need watering at least thrice a week. Trimming down the tips of chilli plants helps them to grow into bushes. When the Chillies are developed they can be handpicked and added to your favorite dish. Leaving them on plant makes them grow red and hotter.
- Chillies are rich in vitamins A & C, so they’re not only delicious also good for health.
- Chillies help fighting sinus congestion
- Chillies improves immunity by protecting against free radicals in the body.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Basil:
Basil is pretty famous popular herb grown around the world. It is a key ingredient in many dishes and is great in fresh salads. Fresh Basil is by far, tastier fresh than in dried form, Growing Basil yourself is a great way to get them in fresh form. Basil is quite expensive and very economical to grow them.
Basil is a perennial plant so will keep yielding you with fresh herb throughout the year as long as it gets plenty of sunlight.
Basil will grow well in moist and quality compost. Basil can be grown from seeds. Sow seeds on moist soil and very lightly cover with thin layer of potting soil. It is vital to make sure the soil remains moist throughout the germination period.
Germination will take around a couple of weeks. Once sprouted, make sure they get enough sunlight by placing them in a sunny area. Separate them once they are showing about 6 leaves, and transplant them into other containers .Plant those four to five inches apart.
Pruning is an important step in order to get bushy Basil plants, instead of long thin ones. Once the plant grows three or four sets of leaves, prune the plant by pinching off the top of the plant just above a set of leaves. The leaves now at the top of the stem will go on to become branches. Repeat this and continue to do this to get a healthy, bushy plant.
Cut off the leaves for everyday use and they grow back as long as the step is not destroyed.
- Basil leaves are good for skin care and digestion.
- Basil leaves has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Basil leaves are used in diabetes treatment and detoxifying liver.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Cardamom:
Cardamom is a perennial tropical plant that is cultivated vastly mostly in Asian countries. Ground cardamom is an ingredient of Tea and coffee in Turki, Central America and Many Asian countries Cardamom seeds are ground and used in flavoring various dishes.Growing cardamom is challenging and needs stable conditions.
Cardamom plants need consistent warm temperatures and humidity. Cardamom is extremely cold-tender and cannot tolerate heavy fluctuations around it. Cardamom plantation is usually done by planting cuttings of parent plants.
Buying seeds is easier than harvesting by own if you want to grow from the seeds.Sow the cardamom seeds on top of the soil and Cover the cardamom seeds with a thin layer of soil. Spread a thin layer of grass over the seed bed to keep it warm. Water regularly until the soil feels moist. Cardamom germination usually takes around 25 -35 days. Once germination occurs, clear the grass and maintain shade. When the seedlings growabove 5-inch-tall, transplant them to separate pots.
Cardamom needs space. Plant your cardamom in a 10- to 15-inch planter pot with rich all-purpose potting mix. Cardamom plants don’t need heavy sunlight. Place the pots in shape region away from direct sunlight. Water the plant regularly and keep the soil moist. Luke warm water can be sprinkled around the plant to keep the humidity high.
- Cardamom seed is taken orally in the treatment of indigestion and nausea.
- Cardamom seeds are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive complaints.
- Oil extracted from cardamom is used in treat lung and kidney problems.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Ginger:
The ginger is most prominent herb and its family of plants is very wide – there are roughly 1500 ginger species in the world. Ginger is must for flavoring of dishes and one of the most used herb in worldwide. Ginger is in use for more than 3000 years as a medicines and ingredient in cooking in many countries because its benefits.
Planting, Growing and Harvesting of Ginger:
Ginger is usually planted in early springtime to take the advantage of the spring and the summer heat. Ginger crop can take roughly 5-8 months to develop, make harvest time around mid/end fall. Selecting the Best Ginger Root, You can buy ginger roots which are good for growing, or you can simply use a root of ginger which is at home. Just pick the best roots for growing ginger by looking at their fingers. These are where the green buds will grow from leaves and more ginger roots.
Preparing the Ginger Root: Growing ginger requires the root to be experiencing special treatment before planting into its final spot in the container. First step you need soak your ginger root in warm water overnight, this is to remove any pesticides or chemicals.
- In Ayurveda, ginger is treated to be the most important of spices and essential herbs. Ginger is the universal medicine.
- Ginger is used in treating throat infections and digestive disorders.
There are also some side effects of Ginger: Intake of much ginger can cause Stomach burn, gas burn, and bloating, don’t take ginger if you have ulcers or inflammation and bleeding disorders. Experts advise not to take more than four grams of ginger every day. Pregnant women should not consume ginger more. Ginger can be for Hair Care
Growing Herbs and Spices – Turmeric:
Turmeric is known to be most used herb in Indian sub-continent since ages. Turmeric is rich in several nutrients and in medicinal benefits. This plant looks very attractive and can grow in indoors and outdoors. It grows in the same like as ginger. You can find a rhizome in the food or seed stores or in garden centers. Growing turmeric plant isn’t that difficult by following the below steps.
Choose a good wide container filled with potting soil to plant the turmeric. Make sure you choose a larger pot for cultivating the turmeric as it go above minimum 1m of height. The containers have to be at least ten to twenty inches wide and ten inches deep so it can spread its roots. You should plant one to two rhizomes in this kind of pot. The best season for planting it is the spring or summer. First, if you have larger rhizomes, break them into small pieces. Fill your container with organic soil that is well shattered and moist. Place the rhizome two inches below the surface of the soil. At the end, water the pot completely. This plant takes seven to nine months to grow completely and you can pick when the leaves turn yellow and the branches begin to dry naturally. You can dig up the entire plant along with root. Then, cut the required and replant it so grows new one.
The benefits and uses are vast.
- Its powder has been used in Beauty products and used as natural face pack.
- It is used in cooking to boost digestive system.
- Turmeric is a natural medicine, a super food which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Cumin:
Cumin is used extensively in cooking. It’s the dried seeds of the herb and belongs to parsley family, which rarely grows taller than 1 foot, the harvest is ready. It is widely used in Middle East, Iran and Indian subcontinent.
Cumin needs a long hot season to produce seeds. If you want to give the cumin an early start, sow the seeds indoors for about five weeks before the springtime. Cumin needs approximately 3 months from the sowing date to produce viable seeds. Sow the seeds in large pots, fill the containers up till 3/4 inch from the top with moist and start the seed mix. Sow four seeds at a depth of 2/4 inch in each container. Place each container in a plastic bag to promote soil-moisture maintenance. Take out the containers from the plastic bags every day to check the soil moisture. If required, water to moisten the soil before retaining the containers back. Cumin can take from seven to 15 days to grow. When seeds sprout they need light. Remove from the plastic bags, place them in sunlight window and swap them so often so the seedlings grow upright to have enough sunlight. For harvestingcut the seed heads and dry indoors. Seeds can be seen falling once they dry.
- Cumin is helpful for people in lowering cholesterol and regular intake of cumin powder helps boy to maintain good cholesterol levels.
- It significantly lowers the blood sugar and improve insulin levels.
- Cumin may play an important role in handling stress. It acts as a antioxidant.
- Cumin show great impact on memory. The study found that the people who extract cumin had better and faster recall.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Black Pepper:
Black pepper belongs to family Piperaceae and is king of spices. Sprinkling Black pepper powder on dishes make them Hot and delicious. Black pepper is in use for more than 4000 years and India served as major exporter of Black pepper to many countries. Black pepper is a climbing plant that grows in humid climate. Peppers are packed of good aroma and nutrition. Black pepper can yield for more than 10 years if proper care is taken.
Growing Black pepper:
The right place makes all the difference in how well peppers grows. Pepper requires adequate rainfall and humidity. Best time for planting black pepper is rainy season. Black pepper is woody perennial climbing vine that climbs on support. While growing in containers balcony grills or some support must be added to help them climb and glow.
Black pepper can be propagated from cuttings from parent plant or seeds.
In general, black pepper vines require a large area for spreading. Pots that are deep and wide must be picked as the roots can penetrate deeper.
While propagating from seed, sow the seeds and cover them with thin layer of soil. Water them regularly and make sure excess water drains fast. Black pepper vines should be pruned once they grow for 4 months. Pruning stimulates the growth improves production. Black pepper with yield only after third year after planting. Berries can be collected by hand as soon as one or two berries turn red and bright. Whole spike can be plucked if couple of them turns red. These berries are dried in sun light for couple of weeks until the skin turns black.
- Black pepper has expectorant properties that helps in treating respiratory problems.
- Black peppers are rich in antioxidants.
- Black peppers are rich in anti-inflammatory properties, which helps in treating ulcers.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Fenugreek:
Fenugreek or Methi is belongs to family of “Fabaceae” and is grown around the world. It is one of the easiest herb to grow with light green leaves and tiny white flowers. It can used as fresh leafy vegetable, dry herb or in the form of seeds. Powdered fenugreek seeds are used widely in many dishes and pickles.
Fenugreek can be cultivated it from seeds. Sow seeds1 cm deep in a good potting mix.
Seeds should be soaked overnight before sowing to increase germination rate. Transplanting is not viable and advised to sow seeds with few inches of space between them. Seeds sprout quickly and seedlings are visible within just 2 to 4 days.
Fenugreek needs moderate watering and excess water must be drained. The good time to plant the fenugreek is when the climate is sunny and hot. As the crop grows in hot climates, regular watering is mandatory.
Within 2 weeks fenugreek will be ready for their first harvest, chop the leaves and use as green leafy vegetable or dry it to use as herb. The twigs, which will grow up again within 2 weeks and this can be repeated around 3-4 times. In order to harvest fenugreek seeds let them flower in few days you can see little seed pods on the plant. Seeds will dry on the plant and get ready for harvesting. The seeds takes around 3-4 months to get ready from the time of sowing seeds.
- Fenugreek seeds help in decreasing insulin resistance in the body and used in treating diabetes.
- Fenugreek seeds are used to prevent the graying of hair due to its ability to help the hair in retaining its pigment.
- Fenugreek is used in treating skin due to its anti-aging effects and moisturizing nature.
- Fenugreek contains phytoestrogen that boosts milk production in mothers.
- Fenugreek helps in preventing accumulation of fat in the body and improves the body metabolism.
Growing Herbs and Spices – Harvesting Herbs: Herbs are usually small in size and start yielding in few weeks. Herbs can be clipped whenever we need them in the kitchen. This boosts plants to grow faster with young leaves.