My herb garden has grown from a few herbs in pots to over 30 different herbs (depending on your definition of herbs), some in pots, some in permanent spots in the garden, and some self-seeding where-ever they please. I have come to use herbs in cooking, preserving and fermenting, in herbal teas, and in various other applications around the house and garden, both for their taste and their healing properties, and as natural alternatives to stronger chemicals.
As my interest in herbs has grown, I have also collected a number of herb books. I started with Isobel Shippard’s comprehensive How Can I Use Herbs in my Daily Life?, and added to this several more from markets and op-shops. I’m no herb expert, but I would like to start to share what I have learnt so far and maybe interest you in some of the more unusual herbs in my garden and some less obvious applications for them.
I’ve decided to feature a herb (or a group of herbs) each month and write in detail how and where it grows and how I use it. If you are a herb-geek like me and would like to share some herb knowledge on your own blog, please send me the link and I’ll publish it in my monthly garden post (I’m too stingy to pay for a proper link-up!). Tips for growing and using herbs in different climates will be very useful to other bloggers, so please share what you know.
To give you an idea of what I’m going to write about, here’s my current list of herbs, where they are growing, and how I use them:
Mint – in a pot, used for cooking and tea
Peppermint – in a pot, used for tea
Spearmint – in a pot, used for tea
Rosemary – in a pot, used for cooking and tea
Oregano – in a pot, used for cooking and tea
Lavender – in the garden, used for bug deterrent and bee food
Ginger – in a pot, used for cooking and tea
Galangal – in the garden, used for cooking and tea
Turmeric – in a pot, used for cooking and tea
Arrowroot – in the garden, used for animal fodder, mulch and root can be eaten
Warrigal greens – in the garden, used as green vege
Herb Robert – self-seeded, used in salads and tea
Rue – in garden, used for bug repellent and chicken worming
Wormwood – in garden, used for bug repellent and chicken worming
Tansy – in garden, used for bug repellent and chicken worming
Raspberry – in garden, fruit eaten (If I’m lucky) and leaves for tea
Comfrey – in a pot and in the garden, used for animal fodder, mulch, compost
Dill – self-seeded, used in salads and pickles
Basil – self-seeded, used in cooking (pesto!)
Parsley – self-seeded, used in cooking
Brahmi – in a pot, used in tea and salad (very bitter though)
Evening primrose – in a pot, not sure what its used for yet
Borage – self-seeded, flowers and leaves used in salad and tea
Calendula - self-seeded, flower petals used in tea and for skin salves
Lemon grass – in a pot and in the garden, used for cooking and tea
Chickweed – self-seeded, used in salad
Garlic chives – self-seeded and spreading (and impossible to eradicate), used in salad
Some of the herbs in my list may not always be considered herbs. Some are also weeds, spices, flowers, fruit or vegetables, but Isobel includes any plant with medicinal or survival properties in her herb book, including raspberry, chickweed and warrigal greens, so I’ve included these too. She also includes chokos and garlic. Its pretty difficult to define what is and isn’t a herb, every time I read a definition I can think of exceptions that are commonly considered herbs, but not included by that particular definition. I’m just going to include in my list anything that is in at least one of my herb books.
Do you use herbs? Any thoughts to share on what is and isn't a herb?
These are the books I use to research herbs:
Previous herb posts on Eight Acres: