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Growing Herbs in Containers

chives

The first known documentation of herbs was in about 2000 BC in Babylon  and they, along with herbs and spices from the Orient and India, were exported right through the continents through to the ancient Egyptians, who learned the traditional uses through their trade.

Today, we have a renewed interest in herbs with many people creating their own culinary and medicinal gardens. This is easy to achieve, as herbs are generally undemanding and because they are able to be grown on a small scale, there are many that thrive in a container garden environment. It is important to regularly pick your herbs at the tip of each steam while they are growing, otherwise you will end up with tall thin plants.

Your herbs will thrive if you feed them with liquid seaweed, which contains trace elements and minerals that give lush, strong plants, while still retaining their flavour. Here are some of the easier and most commonly culinary herbs which grow well in containers.

Fresh growing organic basil

Sage, Bay, Thyme and Rosemary

These are classic English country garden herbs and have robust flavours that are excellent for soups, stock, meat dishes, pastas and sauces. They prefer to have a dryer root, so try not to over-water them. Sage can be grown from seed, but Bay, Thyme, and Rosemary are easier to grow as established plants or grown from cuttings.

Mint

Virtually indestructible, mint grows fantastically as a container crop. Mint is hugely versatile and can be used in everything from teas, sauces, chutneys, and salads. This herb will grow pretty much anywhere, even where there is heavy shade, but does require regular feeding and watering. Once matured, the plant can be divided into halves or quarters.

Chives

This is a lovely salad herb that is also brilliant in soups and garnishes. Chives make a pretty addition to your collection when they flower in spring and attract bees. Easily grown, chives only require four to five hours of sunshine, but make sure the soil is kept damp.

Parsley

Parsley can be slow to take off from seed, but once it takes hold, it will produce for almost two years before it flowers and goes to seed. This is a very solid hardy herb to grow and takes little maintenance.

Basil

Basil likes to bask in the sunshine and is best if it is grown in a bright, sheltered, warm area. The soil needs to be well drained and watered in the mornings.

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Garden Tours

garden-tour

If you have an interest in garden tours as well as travel, then you have myriad of destinations to choose from which will be bound to satiate your thirst for new gardening ideas and information. From the Chelsea Flower Show, hosted in London, to the wild tundra of the Himalayas – or for the more intrepid traveller –  the wild jungles of Borneo, there is much to discover and explore. There are plenty of gardening and botanic clubs, together with tour companies who specialise in trips with a horticultural edge that are sure to satisfy the most avid of garden enthusiasts.

For the most part, the Chelsea Flower Show is the jewel in the crown destination for the keen garden follower and is packed with beautiful gardens and ideas. However, there are equally as compelling organised tours that include exotic destinations such as China, Portugal, Spain, South America, Kenya and even the Galapagos Islands. There are even tours, aimed at the higher end of the market, which involve both sea and river cruises as part of the package.

An organised tour can offer many reasons to take part in, as they are often more comfortable, memorable, and ultimately more informative than going it alone. They often offer entry to gardens that are otherwise not available to the public. There, you can admire and appreciate the surroundings with other like-minded people. Organised tours can make travelling in non-English speaking countries much easier with on board translators and gardening experts.

Locally we have a fantastic organisation called My Open Garden. This is an Australian based online hub where people can register their private gardens for people to come and explore. Travellers and garden enthusiasts can go to this website to find a whole treasure trove of gorgeous private gardens that they can visit.

You may wish to combine the idea of a gardening tour with a longer trip where you can stay on after the tour has concluded, or travel to other destinations. A good tour operator specialising in this will be able to give you some ideas of numbers and flexibility to adding on other desired locations. It may be a good idea to do some online research of the towns and villages you are visiting and see what other accommodation alternatives there are to suit your needs and timeline. If you are staying in a large city, keep in mind the distance between your hotel and the tour destination. As wonderful as a long line of beautiful gardens to visit may be, it pays to give yourself some down time where you can explore your surroundings and take time out to soak up the shopping and culture while you are there.

The weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, so make sure you pack two pairs of shoes, in the even that one may get wet. Bring a lightweight waterproof jacket, a sun hat and plenty of sun screen. The majority of tours will continue, despite the weather conditions.

Bring something back! Although you are not allowed to bring back plants from overseas into Australia, you are allowed to bring back seeds. Many garden destinations will have a shop, so this will be your chance to get them while you can.

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Edible Herbs – A Boon to Mankind

Plants are the mainstay of human survival and advancement. From time immemorial, humans have been using plants as a source of food and fuel. We are aware that photosynthesis by plants plays a major role in maintaining the level of oxygen in the atmosphere.

If all of us grow our own gardens for self-sustenance, we would be healthier and the Earth would be a greener planet.

Plants – ornamental and edible – can be grown at every home, small or big; space shouldn’t be a constraint here.

Edible plants: Prehistoric men and their predecessors survived on wild edible plants, fruits, and vegetables that grew in and around their dwellings. Domestication of plants happened much later. Over the centuries, it paved the way for growing our favourite fruits and vegetables enabling us to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

Herbs: Some of the edible plants that can be grown easily at home, indoor as well as outdoor, are edible herbs. Herbs have always been chefs’ favourites. Additionally, most of these greens are inseparable ingredients of cosmetic and health products.  Growing these at home needs no green fingers and we can derive immense pleasure, satisfaction, and benefits out of it.

Basil: This aromatic herb, laden with Vitamin K (the blood coagulant), powerful antioxidants, and many other nutrients, can be grown anywhere with no additional care. A dash of it adds flavour to any food – meat, fish, or vegetable.

Chives: This perennial, easy-to-grow culinary herb from the onion family, loaded with Vitamins C, K, foliates, and antioxidants, is low in calorie. Outdoor or indoor, Chives grows aggressively in any season.

Coriander (Cilantro): The leaves and seeds of this annual herb serve as spice and have antioxidant, anxiolytic, analgesic and many other properties. It can be grown from the stem as well as seeds.

Olives: This hardy tree can be grown as a hedge plant to add elegance to our homes and glow to our skin and eyes. Olives (green and black) have monounsaturated fat, commonly known as the “good fat,” which helps reduce blood pressure and protect the heart. Olives are rich in vitamin E which protects skin from premature aging.

Oregano: An ancient medicinal and culinary herb, oregano is a rich source of Vitamin K and antioxidants.  Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of oregano are some of the many possible health benefits. Grow it anywhere in pots, gardens, or containers from the seeds or cuttings.

Parsley, Thyme, and many other edible herbs form part and parcel of our cooking delight as well as home remedies for many ailments. Having an uninterrupted supply of these exotic herbs at home doesn’t need expertise, just willingness.

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ADVANTAGES OF HAVING YOUR OWN HOMEGROWN FRUIT TREE NURSERY

You didn’t think it was possible, did you? That one day you would be standing in front of your own tree nursery just waiting for the luscious fruits to ripen so that you can dig into those juicy, tasty treats. Wait, is this still a dream for you? Well, if you have some extra space in your yard, then converting it into a nursery can be a great idea. Here are a few reasons why.

Save that extra dollar

Long gone will be the days of heading down to the supermarket just to satisfy your fruity cravings, or being on the lookout for the fruit vendor in your neighbourhood. All you need to do is simply pluck a couple of ripe fresh apples from the nursery, or dig out plump pineapples in the earth. Besides, fruits are so expensive these days, I wouldn’t mind getting a little dirt on my jeans for a free juicy watermelon.

It’s healthy and nutritious

Just think back on the lunches you had last week in the office. I bet not even one of them had a fruit involved in the equation. As office workers, we are hard wired to eat high energy giving foods, such as carbohydrates and proteins, giving very little attention to fruits. So, in short, we eat junk, and then get really surprised when we’ve added a couple of kilos. Fruits can be a great substitute to all the junk you’ve been eating. Not only do they exhibit low fat properties, they also add essential nutrients that were missing all along. So, next time, instead of having a steak for lunch, why not pack some of your home grown sliced fruits to the office?

Fruits have many purposes

During summer, the heat gets can get so unbearable. Why not blend some of your home grown fruits and make ice chilled juice as a treat? You can even encourage your kids to put up a juice stand to earn some extra money. Fruits can also serve as great delicacies before meals; not to mention making treats such as fruit cakes and salads. So you see, fruits aren’t only delicious and healthy, they can also be a great source of income and also great for other cooking activities.

To get the best robust seedlings in Australia for your fruit tree nursery, evergreengrowers has tremendously cheap offers on healthy fruits such black passion fruit, mulberry black and many others. Feel free to contact us for more information on tips and instructions to grow your own nursery at home.

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Why You Need Basil In Your Garden?

Basil is one of the most important herbs, used in Thai, Italian and Indian cooking. Basil, sweet Italian (Ocimum basilicum) not only adds flavour to the food, but has many medicinal properties as well. It is used for healing many ailments in many tropical Asian regions.  This aromatic herb has bright green leaves and can be grown in your garden on the ground or in pots. This plant grows approximately to a height of 45 cm.

Culinary uses

Basil can be added directly to the salads or can be used as basil pesto, which can be added to egg, meat preparations. Chopped basil can be sprinkled on baked fish, lamb or chicken. Dried basil leaves can be used in any dish of your choice. Basil leaves are an important ingredient in tomato sauce. You need to add basil at the end of the cooking procedure to retain the minty aroma of the herb. It can be added to various soups and stews as well. It can be pureed by adding olive oil and this can be stored under refrigeration. This puree can be drizzled over many prepared food items like pizza.

Health benefits

Basil is a rich source of iron, vitamin K, beta carotene, etc. Apart from this, basil leaves also have anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in keeping the arteries healthy and retarding the aging process. Basil when added to food improves digestion and reduces the fullness of the stomach. Chewing fresh basil leaves or drinking basil tea made of dried basil can soothe cough and cold and can relieve nausea. Oil of basil inhibits the action of pathogenic bacteria like Enterococci, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Shigella, etc.

Growing basil

Basil can be grown easily from seedlings available from garden nurseries. The herb prefers warm temperatures and grows best when it receives at least 5 hours of sunlight every day.  If growing from seeds, sow the seeds in well drained soil with a good amount of sunlight for at least 5 hrs a day. This plant cannot survive frost temperatures and requires moderate watering during warm climate. To promote the production of fresh leaves it is necessary to remove the flower buds as soon as it appears. You can grow it as a border in your outdoor garden or you can opt for growing them in pots indoors. Pruning the basil plants in every 2-3 weeks will improve growth. You can get quality plants from an online nursery in your country.

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Have you thought of growing your own herbs?

Sweet basil. The basis for a brilliant bruschetta!

Do you like cooking with food? This week we had a lively discussion on our Facebook Page on suggestions for how to make the finest bruschetta. From adding a touch of sugar to the finest balsamic vinegar to letting the mix stand in the sun for ten minutes, it became obvious that the making of this Italian classic was taken very seriously by many readers. Continue reading Have you thought of growing your own herbs?

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The versatile Rosemary — for healing, flavouring and visual display

The aromatic leaves and individual taste of the rosemary plant have been highly sought after for generations as a flavouring for foods. However the versatile woody perennial herb — a member of the mint family — has been used in a number of other different ways. As well as making an ideal and hardy decorative hedge, rosemary has been venerated throughout history as a medicinal plant and in aromatherapy. Continue reading The versatile Rosemary — for healing, flavouring and visual display