Instead of buying herbs in plastic pots from supermarkets, try growing a few of your own either in gardens or in pots. You can use other items like spokes of a cartwheel to grow in different areas (good for mint and chives, which can go out of control if not limited in space). Ask doctor or midwife which herbs to avoid for pregnancy/nursing and keep herbs away from babies.
Water in the morning (yellow leaves are due to too much water). Don’t face west or east (not enough sun) but don’t scorch in the sun either. Harvest as you need them, and freeze chopped herbs in ice-cube trays.
keep pets safe near herbs
Keep herbs away from pets, due to possible interactions. Make your garden safe for pets to know toxic plants to avoid (don’t place indoor plants facing gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows). Herbs that are toxic to pets include:
- Pennyroyal (mint)
- Chives (anything in the onion family)
- Bay laurel
- Cress. For humans, this edible herb (better than supermarket cress that is mostly rapeseed oil) is known as ‘poor man’s pepper’ and gives a tasty tang to sandwiches, soups and stews.
It’s best to keep all herbs away from pets. But if growing your own, safer ones include mild basil, rosemary, coriander and thyme. Lavender is not the most toxic herb for pets, but in large amounts could harm. Also keep pets away from herbs that attract bees (like lavender or rosemary – see natural remedies for bee stings).
books to grow your own herbs
- My Tiny Kitchen Garden shows how to grow 20 plants in your kitchen including fresh herbs for dinner. Learn the basics of micro-gardening and find tips on growing food from scraps, and how to save and store seeds (again away from pets, if herbs are toxic).
- Your Indoor Herb Garden is a beautifully illustrated book on why indoor herb gardens are cook for cooking and healing. Includes a glossary of herbs with growing requirements.
- Complete Container Herb Gardening is a book by a certified horticulturalist. Sue Goetz walks you through growing easy edible herbs for your patio, roof, balcony or porch. Learn ideal containers and how to tend your herb garden.