I love multi-taskers they can save time, money and space. Herbs are super for adding many capabilities in a very small space. You can grow them in a south facing window year round. Herbs and spices were the original prescription drugs and have many health benefits. When you add in how good fresh herbs can taste and how they can really “punch up” a simple meal, it’s a no-brainier to start a small window box of your favorite herbs.
One of my favorite herbs is Rosemary. I love the taste for one and it’s the best herb I have found to use in steam when I get a head or chest cold. But I always had problems growing it till I got ARP Rosemary. It’s not quite the woody type of plant that Rosemary is, and it grew super in SW Idaho in my raise beds. My first year planting it so I’m not sure if it can come back, but I will be getting some more to grow next year. What more can you ask from a little plant it tastes good, can be dried and is a cold remedy.
I tried growing some Hops this year but I got lazy and didn’t pay attention to the plants. My fault, I know hops grows great in the valley so I need to get a little better at paying attention to new plants I’m trying out. Hops besides being great for beer were packed into little sachets and placed in pillows as a calming agent. Hops are also a part of many calming teas and tonics before Prozac and Zoloft. With so many Americans being treated with anti-depressants I think it’s a good idea to have herbs that can help calm people if they are suddenly cut off from prescription meds. Will it help? I don’t know! But just sitting around doing nothing is not in my nature.
Ginger: While I have not tried to grow ginger there are many ways to preserve it. Just a pot full of damp sand can make the roots last a long time. You can do a candied ginger with sugar that is simple. I want to do a real Ginger Ale because ginger is so good at treating nausea and motion sickness. Plus I’m getting into Asian cooking and ginger is a very important spice for flavoring Asian inspired meals.
One of my favorites Garlic: Garlic needs to be planted in the fall it’s a bit of an odd duck as far as most plants because of this need of cold and wintering over. Garlic has a ton of health benefits that are quite well documented and is used a lot when I cook. I think it was Erma Bombeck who said her two basic rules of cooking were “If you can’t add chocolate add garlic and if you can’t add garlic add chocolate”. I bet you would be hard pressed to find a savory meal that does not include garlic and the fresh stuff tastes better.
Now I just covered 4 simple plants that can be bought any any mega mart and you can preserve easily that are all multi-taskers. I didn’t even start on the basil, oregano or sage and what they can do for a meal. Get your self a good herbal book or a solid source on the internet and start a window garden, get some ginger and fresh garlic to use and planted till your starts come up next spring. If you never grew a plant before think of the practice you will get this winter. If you can grow in the winter you can grow year round!