Karen Best Wright, B.S., M.A., Holistic Health & Wellness Coach
Springtime Wellness continued...
April's wellness article focused on the many benefits of springtime, such as warmer weather, beautiful colors, and a time for more outside activities that benefit the body and soul. April's article also mentioned new life through gardening. Container gardening or a full-size garden producing fresh vegetables for a healthy summer is encouraged.
We continue Springtime Wellness with aromatic herbs that will grow in our area. Fresh herbs enhance the taste of almost any food eaten. Some herbs also have medicinal purposes and are even added to household cleaners, adding a pleasant smell to a freshly cleaned area.
A novice gardener who does not know the best place to plant herbs (some need more sun than others) should start with containers that are moveable around the flower bed until experienced. Herbs mixed among the roses and flowers add a delightful array of colors and beauty. It also promotes a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. There are few things better than going out into one's garden and picking fresh herbs that enhance the taste of dinner.
Some people prefer to start their herbs from seeds indoors and transplant them when the chance of frost is over. Others buy small plants from the garden center and transplant them. It depends on your interest, time, adequate space, and proper lighting to start plants indoors. Buying small plants from a garden center is more predictable. Some herbs are perennials – they grow year after year. Others are annuals – they last only one season. Know what you are buying and plan accordingly.
ROSEMARY: Rosemary is easy to grow and usually a perennial, except in extreme winters. Rosemary has a woodsy pine-like scent with a strong flavor. Its appearance is a cross between sage and lavender. Rosemary is used to flavor poultry, meats, stews, and casseroles. Long rosemary stems can be hung in the kitchen to dry, giving the kitchen a country look and a pleasant aroma.
BASIL: Basil is a universal favorite widely used in Italian cuisines. It is an annual, so be prepared to replace it in your garden next year. There are different types of basil, from sweet to spicy. Basil is also healthy as it adds vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to foods.
OREGANO: Oregano is a staple in Italian and Mexican cuisines. Oregano's spicy flavor can season beans, spaghetti, poultry, and homemade pizza. It is an easy-to-grow perennial that flourishes easily.
LAVENDER: Lavender is usually a perennial that has a calming floral scent. It is used in recipes and drinks though commonly used in bath salts, sachets, and potpourris for calming emotions. Lavender grows well in hot, dry conditions.
THYME: Thyme is an easy-to-grow perennial that can grow outside or indoors. Its robust flavor seasons meats, roasted vegetables, and soups. Also, add thyme to teas, cocktails, and marinades.
SAGE: Sage is a culinary herb that combines pleasantly with rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf. It seasons meats, root vegetables, and soups. It is a hardy plant and best grown outdoors.
MINT: There are numerous types of mint; peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, and pineapple mint. The pineapple mint plant provides beautiful red flowers as the weather cools into autumn. The benefits of various mint plants have numerous health benefits, such as a digestive aid and an insect repellant. Freshly made mint tea straight from the garden beats hands down the processed little packages purchased from the grocery store.