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Herbs

Organic gardening and herb growing go hand in hand. The approach taken when growing a healthy garden in harmony with nature is much the same as that of flavouring food and maintaining good health by natural herbal means.

What is a herb?
You could say that any soft leafy plant is a herb. Or you might want to include all useful healing plants and fungi. There is a fine line between what is a weed and what is a herb. Many wild plants have useful properties and a valued herb in one part of thje world can be a rampant pest in another. For example horehound is a major weed here is South Australia. Some vegetables and flowers can even be be regarded as herbs.

Where to grow herbs?

Wherever conditions are suitable. A small herb garden outside the kitchen door is a popular tradition. You have the herbs ready at hand to pick and use in the cooking.

Herbal borders to the vegetable garden and herbs grown between and among vegetables make for good companion planting. Attractive herbs have a place in the flower garden or as landscaping features. Rosemary or lavender make good low hedges. Herb lawns can be grown from pennyroyal, yarrow, Roman chamomile and some varieties of thyme.

Some herbs, particularly those which are originally from mediterranean areas, do well with plenty of sunshine and not too much water. These include marjoram, sage, lavender, thyme, wormwood and rosemary. They usually do well in South Australia.

A herb spiral is a favourite with permaculture enthusiasts. The spiral provides diverse growing conditions for a range of herbs.

What to start with?
Some tasty, easy to grow culinary herbs are:
parsley, oregano, marjoram, mint, sage, thyme, dill, lovage, chervil, rosemary, basil, tarragon, rau ram (asian mint), garlic, burnet, chives, bay, fennel, savoury, sorrel, rocket, lemon grass.

Healing Herbs
Herbs have been used for centuries for their healing properties. It is great to have a first aid kit growing in the garden. Some useful medicinal herbs are:
     
Herb Traditional Healing Use
Aloe Vera Abrasions, burns, skin problems.
Calendula    Varicose veins, ulcers, minor wounds, and athlete’s foot.
Comfrey Bruises, sprains and broken bones.
Yarrow Internal bleeding, urinary problems, colds, flu, fever.
Elder Colds, flu, bruises, wounds.
Peppermint Digestion, colds.
Chamomile Nerves, stress, sleeping problems.
Valerian Nerves, stress.
Scullcap Nerves, stress.
Lavender Nerves, stress, gas.
Liquorice Coughs, chest complaints.
Galangal Sea sickness, gas, stimulant.
Feverfew Migraine.
Vervain    Fevers, ulcers, pleurisy.

The above information is a guide only. (In other words this is not medical advice so don't sue me.)