Herbs In Your Vegetable Garden?

Herbs In Your Vegetable Garden?
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If you are able to have a vegetable garden should you add certain herbs to the garden? Yes, you should! Herbs make great companion plants, and they add an ornamental element to your garden as well.
The first herb that comes to mind is calendula. The petals are easy to harvest and dry, but you need quite a few of them to make infused oils, which are very expensive to buy. You can also make tea and soothing bath products with calendula, as well as some culinary recipes. Plant a row as soon as you can work the garden soil. Harvest the flowers right after they bloom. Near fall, leave some on the plants to form seeds. The seeds are very easy to recognize and harvest for next year's garden. The flowers dry easily on screens and once dry you can separate the petals, which are the part you'll want to use.

Basil is another herb that could be grown in your garden, especially if you make pesto, tomato sauces or vinegars. Plant the row where it will receive full sun, and make sure the soil is rock free with peat and compost mixed in. The important thing with basil is to keep it harvested so it does not flower. Once it blooms, it's pretty much finished if you don't remove the flowers. Keep your row of plants harvested and plan out what you will do with the basil ahead of time. Make pesto out of one harvest, vinegar out of the next and so on. basil seed can be sown into garden rows as soon as the soil is warm and there is NO danger of frost. Don't allow the plants to dry out at any time. They do better if watered on a regular basis.

Another creative way to include herbs in the vegetable garden is to use them in a decorative, but functional manner. Place whiskey barrels or large planters of nasturtiums at the four corners of the garden. Direct seed them into the planters as per the instructions on the packets. They germinate quickly in about a week and will be a beautiful addition. They can be added to salads throughout the summer and will continue to flower until autumn frost.

Plant lavender as a border on both ends of the garden, and on the sides you can alternate oregano, sage and lemon balm. All are about the same height and are low maintenance. Do remember to keep them well harvested, especially to prevent blooming which will reseed them in places you don't want the plants located. All three can be used for vinegars, sauces, teas, and the small young leaves can be thrown in salads.

Another herb and vegetable combination to try this gardening season: grow tomatoes in the back of a raised bed or regular garden plot, then grow basil and chili pepper plants in front of the tomatoes. The chili plants act like a pest deterrent since so many animals and bugs dislike the foliage and peppers. They all need full sun and the same type of watering, so it's a great combination!

Don't let yourself be discouraged from growing herbs because you think you have to choose between vegetables and herbs. They can be combined to make your garden more useful and attractive at the same time!


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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