Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are more than just words to a song. Herbs cross all the boundaries between flowers and vegetables. Beautiful and fragrant, but also edible or drinkable, most herbs are remarkably easy to grow and there are varieties for every type of soil and sun situation.
Here are just five of the many benefits of growing herbs
1. Natural bug repellent
Rosemary, lavender, and basil are all fragrant herbs that calm and sooth the human senses, but mosquitoes and other pests find the scent repugnant. Raised beds of lavender and potted rosemary bush topiary are features of formal French gardens for practical reasons as well as traditional design. Even the use of lemon balm as centerpieces on outdoor dining tables will help to keep the mosquitoes away.
Citronella – This green leaf herb produces lavender blooms in the summer and closely resembles lemongrass. However, just because it smells like the citronella bug repellent, this herb is quite ineffective at keeping the bugs away.
2. Complimentary protection
Herbs that grow beside the vegetables they season when cooked offers complimentary protection as well as flavour. Basil grown beside tomatoes will keep slugs away while thyme protects cabbages. Oregano is a fast-growing ground cover that helps the soil hold moisture for vegetables, like peppers, that need high levels of humidity.
3. Keep the weeds down
Spring often awakens perennial herbs first. The garden’s early riser ground covers, like mint and oregano, are as easy to grow as grass. In fact, many gardeners are replacing grass with low maintenance fragrant herbs because they need less water and care. They keep weeds down while not interfering with other established plants and bushes.
4. First fresh producers
Garlic scape, chives, and even tender young dandelion leaves can be used to make a fresh salad from the garden even before the fiddleheads and asparagus appear. Herbs give the gardener his/her first reward.
5. Calming remedies
We all know that herbs, whether fresh or dried, when infused in boiling water bring mugs of calm. Mint, fennel, chamomile and lemon balm are all soothing remedies after a day out gardening in the fresh air and sunshine. That cup of peace at the end of the day is the gardener’s best reward.