Grow thin with herbs reviews

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Three Methods:Getting StartedStarting SeedsPlanting HerbsCommunity Q&A

If you love to season your cooking with fresh herbs, growing your own is an inexpensive and rewarding option. Herbs are unfussy plants that can grow indoors or outdoors, in pots or in the ground – all you need is a warm, sunny spot and a few basic supplies. Gather your supplies, start some seedlings, and plant and care for your new herbs.

Method 1 Getting Started

  1. Choose herbs to grow.

    What herbs do you like to use in your cooking? When choosing what herbs to grow, start by thinking about your own preferences. Since herbs are easy and fun to grow, you might want to try your hand at growing an herb or two that you wouldn’t normally buy at the grocery store. When you have a few in mind, buy packets of seeds at your local nursery or online.

    • Basil, dill, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint are wonderful herbs that are used in many cuisines. If you’d like to grow a variety of herbs, these would make a good foundation for an herb garden. You can also grow an herbal tea garden.
    • If you’re planning on growing your herbs outside, you’ll need to take your region’s climate and soil properties into account. Determine what regional growing zone you fall into and make sure the herbs you pick out are able to thrive in your area.
  2. Decide where to grow the herbs.

    Herbs are easy to grow both outdoors and indoors. You can also choose between planting them directly in the ground or in a growing container. Most herbs need plenty of direct sunlight, so choose a spot that isn’t shaded.

  3. Get potting soil.

    Soil composition is an important factor for successful herb gardening. Herbs thrive in a somewhat neutral pH (between 6.5 and 7), but soil need not be especially fertile. In fact, if it is too rich, growth will be rampant and flavor, diluted. More important than fertility is drainage. The soil should be loose and crumbly so that it drains well.

    • If you’re starting your herbs from seed, look for a seed starter potting soil that has not been enriched with extra nutrients, since seeds contain the nutrition they need to sprout and take root.
    • For older seedlings, choose potting soil that hasn’t been treated with pesticides.
    • You can mix commercial soil with compost to help the herbs grow strong and healthy.

Method 2 Starting Seeds

  1. Start in early spring.

    The best time to start seeds is when temperatures are still cool and the growing season has yet to get underway. This gives the seeds time to sprout and become established; they should be ready for planting when the temperature begins to rise.

    • If you can, wait until after the last frost.
  2. Prepare seed containers.

    Herb seeds can be started in any type of small container, like an old egg carton, yogurt cups, or containers available for purchase at the nursery. Label the containers so you’ll know what seeds you’re planting in which. Fill each one with potting soil, then dampen the soil with a bit of water. Place the containers in a sunny area with a steady temperature around 70 degrees. At this early stage the seeds should not get hours of direct sunlight, or they may overheat.

    • Even if you plan to grow your herbs outdoors, it’s easier to start the seeds inside, where you can control the water and temperature.
    • Most herbs need a humid environment to germinate. If you live in an area where the air is very dry, cover the seed pots lightly with plastic wrap. Don’t wrap them too tightly, though – the seeds need air flow to germinate.
  3. Soak the seeds.

    This step helps to get the seeds ready to germinate. Place the seeds in an even layer between two damp paper towels. Let them soak for about 4 hours on the day you are going to plant them.

  4. Plant the seeds. Check the seed packages to determine how each type of herb should be planted. Some just need to be scattered evenly across the surface of the soil, while others won’t germinate unless they are buried under the surface. Over the next few weeks, the seeds will germinate and begin to sprout and grow leaves. Keep the temperature and sunlight steady, and make sure the soil never gets the chance to dry out.

  5. Thin the seedlings.

    Once the seedlings have grown leaves, you’ll need to remove some of them from the pots so that the stronger ones have room to grow. Take out the less developed seedlings and leave about an inch of space between the remaining plants.

Method 3 Planting Herbs

  1. Prepare the planting bed.

    Use a garden rake to loosen the dirt and rake in the soil mixture you purchased for the herbs to a depth of about 6 inches (15.2 cm). Sprinkle water over the soil to moisten it. Dig holes several inches apart in preparation for planting the herbs.

    • If you’re planting the herbs in pots, determine how many will fit in each one. Many herbs get quite large as they grow, so you may not want to plant more than 2 – 3 seedlings in each container.
    • You can add a bit of fertilizer to the soil, but again, don’t over-fertilize or the herbs won’t thrive.
  2. Plant the seedlings.

    The herbs are ready to plant when they are well-established and have sprouted several mature leaves. Plant them when outdoor temperatures are above 50 degrees, and the chance of frost is gone. Carefully lift the seedlings from the pots, loosen their roots, and plant them in the ground. Pat soil around the base of the stems, then dampen the area with water.

    • If you’re planting the herbs outside, it’s a good idea to transition them to outdoor temperatures by allowing them to “harden off” in a garage or other covered outdoor space for a few days before you plant them in the ground.
  3. Care for the herbs.

    Now that the herbs are established, you have only to care for them by making sure they consistently get enough sunlight and water. Pay attention to the moisture level of the soil, and never let it get dried out. Your herbs will grow healthy and strong, and soon it will be time to

    harvest them


  4. Fertilize your herbs.

    One good way to keep your herbs healthy and happy is to add fertilizer to the soil. You can sprinkle fertilizer around the bases of your plants after they are already established, or add slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting. Container-grown herbs will need more fertilizer than those grown in the ground. A few good fertilizer options are:

    • Organic slow-release granules. It is best to add these to the soil before planting.
    • Water-soluble fertilizer. This type of fertilizer can be added to your plants’ soil at any point during the growing season. It does not last as long as slow-release granules, so you may wish to give your herbs several treatments.
    • Compost. You can make your own natural fertilizer by composting your food and yard waste. Good compost material includes things like grass clippings, dead leaves, fruit and vegetable waste, stale bread, egg shells, and coffee grounds.
  5. Use natural pest control methods.

    If your herb garden is troubled by pests, you may need to apply some gentle pesticides or repellents to your plants. Try one or a combination of these safe and natural pest control methods:

    • Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, is a type of bacterium that naturally occurs in soil and contains insecticidal compounds. A variety of Bt-based pesticide products are available on the market. Bt is safe for humans and pets.
    • Diatomaceous earth is a natural rock powder that kills slugs and many insects. Sprinkle a little of it around the bases of your plants to create a barrier, or puff some onto the leaves with a puffer bottle.
    • Ladybugs are attractive, harmless to your plants, and happy to chow down on aphids and other small insect pests. Buy a box of ladybugs at your local garden center and turn them loose in your herb garden. Spray your plants with a dilute sugar-water solution first to make them more appealing to the ladybugs.

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  • Some gardeners go one step further in the pursuit of perfect drainage and raise beds a few inches off the ground. An edging of bricks, logs, or stones does the trick and, as a bonus, neatly defines the beds. An advantage of raised beds is quick construction. You can lay out the edging in the design of your choice—right on top of the lawn. Mound each section with four to six inches of imported soil that has been amended to suit the herbs. The turf under the imported soil will die for lack of light and air and, as it decomposes, add organic matter. Cover the paths with four to six inches of mulch and remove any grass that manages to survive. A combination of full sun and fast-draining soil will foster lusty growth and discourage fungal diseases, keeping your plants healthy. Dry heat will also concentrate the essential oils in the leaves for the best flavor.


  • Some types of herbs, such as garlic, may be toxic to pets. If you have pets and plan to grow herbs in your home or garden, find out if they are safe for your pets. Make sure that your pets do not have access to any toxic herbs.

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Herbs are one of the most rewarding container crops. Most are also easy to grow. Still, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to make sure your potted herbs reach their bushy, lush best.

Lorraine Melton, head grower at the herb farm Herbal Haven, gave me two key pieces of advice. Firstly, make sure you pick your herbs regularly during the growing season, and make sure you pick them in the right way. Most importantly, don’t pick stems from the base of the plant. This encourages tall, lanky plants. Instead, pick off the tips of each stem – about the top inch or two (depending on the size of the herb), just above a pair of leaves. Two new shoots will grow from each stem, creating a fuller plant.

Secondly, you need to feed all your herbs in containers with liquid seaweed (or worm tea) while they are growing. This can transform weak specimens into strong, lush plants. Liquid seaweed is packed with trace elements and minerals that will help the herbs retain good flavour too.

I’ve tried growing more than 30 different herbs in containers. Here are 10 that I wouldn’t be without. I’ve chosen them for how easy they are to grow in containers, and for how useful and versatile they are in the kitchen.

. Mint

A fantastic container crop, and so versatile. You can use it for everything from tea to mojitos, to mint and coriander chutney. Its also easy to grow – it’ll even cope with difficult shady spaces that only get a little sun.

It’s a greedy beast though, and needs regular feeding to grow well. Put each plant in its own five litre pot, keep it well watered and pick it regularly. It will soon grow into a large bushy plant that will give you a constant supply of leaves from April to November, year after year. Once your plant is established, take it out of the pot each spring after its winter die back, and divide it into halves or quarters, and re-pot it with fresh compost. This helps it to keep its vigour – and provides you with new plants to expand your mint collection or give away.

There are many varieties – some are more suitable for tea, some for cooking. I’ve had lots of fun trying out several different ones – though my favourite is one I bought from the supermarket and planted out.

2. Chives

Brilliant in salads, snipped up over soups, or added as garnish to many dishes. The flowers are cheerful in the spring, taste yummy – and the bees love them too. This is another easy one to grow and only needs four or five hours’ of sun. Make sure it doesn’t dry out, as chives like damp soil.

3. Sage 4. Bay 5. Thyme and 6. Rosemary

Easy to grow with unique flavours, these classic herbs are excellent for soups, stocks, meats, pastas and more. They don’t like wet roots – so grow in well-drained soil and take care not to over-water. You can grow sage from seed, the others are better bought as plants or grown from cuttings (bay is difficult from cuttings, though).

7. Parsley

This is slow to get going from seed but once established will give you leaves for nearly two years before it flowers and dies. I like a lot of parsley and once filled a whole window box with it.

8. Coriander

Planted in the spring, coriander quickly flowers and goes to seed. You can try and delay this (by keeping it well watered and fed, growing it in a more shady space, and cutting the leaves regularly), but it will happen eventually, whatever you do. Don’t worry: the flowers are magnets for hoverflies (whose larvae eat aphids) and the green seeds are delicious.

August through to September is the best time to sow coriander, when it is much less prone to bolt. You’ll get leaves throughout the late autumn, the plants will survive most winters, and it’ll grow back strong and lush in the spring.

9. Basil

This loves the warmth. It’s best grown in a warm, bright, sheltered spot (it thrives in green houses) and sown when the weather warms in June. It also doesn’t like going to bed with wet roots – so grow in well-drained soil and water in the morning.

10. Sorrel

Despite having its profile raised by Ottolenghi (who uses it in several recipes), sorrel remains a stranger to supermarket shelves. It has a strong, sour flavour with a lemony bite. Cooked, sorrel forms classic combinations with eggs and with salmon, or you can chop up a few fresh leaves and add to salads. It is easy to grow in a container. Plant six to eight plants (which are easy to start from seed) in a window box with at least four hours sun and it will give you a flavour hit all year round. Pick the outer leaves and it will keep producing new leaves.

With a few more pots, I’d add in lovage (to add depth of flavour to risottos and stocks), Vietnamese coriander (much easier to grow than normal coriander and a must if you like spicy food) dill, tarragon (wonderful but temperamental to grow – it hates getting its roots wet), lemon verbena (brilliant for herb tea), blackcurrant sage (beautiful, cheerful flowers), winter savory, lemongrass (grow from supermarket lemongrass stalks), and oregano.

You can grow herbs in pots together as long as you remember two rules: avoid mixing those that like plenty of water (such as chives, mint, chervil, coriander, Vietnamese coriander) with those that like a well-drained soil (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, bay, and oregano). And choose herbs of similar sizes for the same pot – a large rosemary will swamp a small thyme plant, for example. So if you want to mix rosemary and thyme, look for a small, compact form of rosemary.

I find five litre pots are a good size for most herbs (bay, rosemary and lovage may need something bigger) – big enough to support decent-sized plants, but small enough to fit in a small space. You can grow herbs in smaller pots, but five litres (and larger) are a lot easier to look after, as small pots dry out too quickly.

It’s easy to continue growing in pots throughout winter. Next time we’ll look at what to grow in winter and how to do it.

Stuck for space to grow? Try planting herbs in containers

Mark is Founder of Vertical Veg a social enterprise that inspires and supports food growing in containers in small spaces. For free, seasonal container growing tips, sign up to his newsletter at

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Balloon flower roots have been consumed for their health benefits from more than 2,000 years. Balloon Flower (jie geng in Chinese) is a plant with star-shaped, blue-violet flowers. This is a popular garden plant and it is used for ornamental purposes. The balloon flower is used for culinary purposes in Korea. The Koreans use the root of the flower as an ingredient in salads and other foods. The root of the balloon flower can be prepared dried or fresh.

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Balloon flower roots have been consumed for their health benefits from more than 2,000 years. Balloon Flower (jie geng in Chinese) is a plant with star-shaped, blue-violet flowers. This is a popular garden plant and it is used for ornamental purposes. The balloon flower is used for culinary purposes in Korea. The Koreans use the root of the flower as an ingredient in salads and other foods. The root of the balloon flower can be prepared dried or fresh.

  • Balloon Flower is also known as: Jie Geng, Platycodon grandiflorum, Campanulaceae
  • In Korea, this flower is mentioned in traditional folk song.
  • The flower is one of Japan’s traditional seven flowers of autumn. 
  • Natural locations for Balloon Flower: Europe And Asia – Japan 

In herbal medicine, the root is used as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is also used for the treatment of colds and coughs. Balloon Flower is used in traditional Chinese formulas for its expectorant qualities to dilate the bronchi. It reportedly increases bronchial secretions.

Health benefits of Balloon flower root:

In Korea the plant is known as doraji  and its root, either dried or fresh, is a popular ingredient in salads and traditional cuisine. However, doraji (Chinese bellflower) should not be confused with Korean bellflower. Chinese bellflower is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

They are thought to work by dilating the bronchial vessels; a constituent called platycodigenin thins and helps eliminate phlegm. Recent studies found that the root killed a liver fluke (internal parasite) and lowered “bad” and raised “good” cholesterol in rats. An ingredient of several Japanese herbal extracts, the root may be anti-inflamma­tory. A saponin in the root increases pancreatic secretion through the release of gastro­intestinal hormones.

Balloon flower root is a well-known anti-inflammatory herb in Chinese medicine.

It may help in health conditions such as–

  • Coughs and wheezing with phlegm. Balloon flower reduces phlegm and as an expectorant, it is used to open up the lungs when they are congested and help the body get rid of pus due to a lung abscess.
  • Common cold, flu, bronchitis, a sore throat, and may help pulmonary tuberculosis.
  • Tootache
  • fatigue
  • Balloon flower root is often prescribed for loss of voice.

Balloon flower root can be found in Chinese herbalists and medical practitioners. Good quality balloon flower root is thick and white with a bitter taste. Roots that are thin with a yellow or grey hue are poor quality.



When using any herb as a remedy for health problems, please seek the advice of an expert before using.

Balloon flower root should not to be taken for a chronic cough or by those patients who cough up blood. As with all herbs, it is best to consult a licensed practitioner or physician.



Add a comment

Have this plant for about a year now. Mine has white flowers and they look as though they had been cut out of a paper. I was unstopably drawn to the plant when I first saw it in a garen center. Recently I began to think:’ May be my body trying to tell me something?’ Today I searched for answer and found this article which put all the dots on i. Yes, for a long time I am suffering with mucus in my throat, especially dreadful at night and intermittent loss of voice without any reason. I am going to try the remedy. Isn’t it nature amazing, you just have to learn to listen to it!

B W1 98 answers Posted on May 24, 2012

A very useful plant indeed! Thanks for letting us know about it

Another great herbal info. Thanks.

Living at high altitude, Balloon flowers are abundant in gardens and do well here.  Didn’t know about their herbal uses.  Great article.

Never heard of Balloon Flower before. Thanks for the info!

Never heard of Balloon Flower before. Thanks for the info!

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Wild Snapdragon: Herbal Wildflower with Dozens of Names

‘Butter and Eggs’ is the name of this Common Wildflower Growing up in rural western New York state I am quite familiar with these non-native plants and wildflowers properly called “Eggs and Butter” (Linaria vulgaris.) We just called them by the vernacular name “Snapdragons.” Co…

Best Natural Ways to Fade or Remove Freckles Fast: Freckle Removal Home Remedies

Freckles are some sort of colorations of the skin, most commonly occur in people with lighter or fairer skin types. Although freckles are harmless, being outside in the sun may help cause them or make them darker. Specifically exposure to UVB radiation activates melanocytes to increase the melanin p…

Kelp and Iodine Side Effects When Treating Low Thyroid Function

After having suffered with a sub-clinical slow thyroid condition for over 30 years and losing thousands of dollars to wrong medications, improper lab work and clueless physician diagnoses, this writer determined to self-diagnose and self-prescribe an alternative treatment. Enough was enough! A d…

One Point Healing – Acupressure Point Li 4

Acupressure Point LI 4 is called Union Valley, (Hegu/ He Gu in Chinese) and is referred as a channel of energy associated with the large intestine.  I personally apply acupressure on this point two times daily to get relief from pain or aches and easy bowel movemen…

Trigger Point Map

Trigger points are places in the body where muscles do not function properly because they have been damaged on the cellular level. Trigger points are treated to help relieve the pain and discomfort which is called trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique that involve…

How to Cure Piles Naturally: Home Remedies for Treating Hemorrhoids or Piles

Piles are becoming a common ailment among people due to the increased stress and fast-food technology. Hemorrhoids or piles are swollen and inflamed veins in your anus and lower rectum. Hemorrhoid problem is not actually a disease, but it is in fact a condition that takes quite some time to heal as …

Bamboo’s Surprising Medicinal Uses

First mentioned in Asian medicinals of the 6th century, modern analysis of bamboo shows that it contains 88.8 % moisture, 3.9 % protein, 0.5 % fat, 11 % minerals, and 5.7 % carbohydrates per 100 grams of its edible portion.  It also contains calcium, phosphorus,iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niaci…

One Point Healing – Acupressure Point CV 17

Acupressure point CV 17 or ‘Sea of Tranquility’ is often considered to be the best point to relieve anxiety and stress, especially to stop a panic attack before it has a chance to escalate. It helps to deepen your breathing and stimulates your thymus gland. According to the theory of Acupressu…

Balloon Flower Root Health Benefits

Balloon flower roots have been consumed for their health benefits from more than 2,000 years. Balloon Flower (jie geng in Chinese) is a plant with star-shaped, blue-violet flowers. This is a popular garden plant and it is used for ornamental purposes. The balloon flower is used f…

How to Stop Hiccups Quickly: Cure Hiccups with Home Remedies

Hiccups result from involuntary spasms of the Diaphragm. Hiccups can be very annoying, especially if they keep on coming for a long time. While hiccups can be unpleasant, even disturbing occurrence, it is temporary. Home remedies offer you herbal and natural method to cure hiccups effectively. Liste…

Golden Champa Medicinal Properties: Antitoxic Agent and Vertigo Remedy

             Image Credit (Michelia champaca) The Golden Champa is a well known, tall, handsome tree with a straight trunk and spreading branches, and belongs to the plant family Magnoliaceae. The leaves, 15 to 25 cm. long, are lanceol…

How to Do Water Therapy

Water Therapy What is Water Therapy? Water therapy is the practice of drinking 1.5 liters of water early in the morning immediately after waking up, by doing this you are cleansing your body of the toxins and chemical build-up in your system. Why 1.5 liters of water you ask? The stomach is a…

Nature’s Remedies to Purge Worms (Intestinal Parasites)

                          Image Credit Worms tend to eat your food. In the process, they irritate your intestinal lining and reduce even more the amount of nutrients which are absorbed into your bloodstream. The worms also produce…

How to Cure Fungal Infection of Toenails: 7 Effective Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus Infection

Nail fungus infection also known as onychomycosis is caused by a collection of fungus called dermatophytes. Nail fungus infection could affect both fingernails and toenails, but toenail fungus infection is most common because the toes are usually confined to dark, sweaty place inside your shoes, the…

Review: Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer Herbal Tea

Being sick has caused me a lot of stress and tension headaches, but one of the herbal teas I have been drinking on a daily basis to help relieve these health conditions naturally is the Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer Herbal Tea. It is full of delicious soothing flavor and contains only natural n…

5 Natural Benefits of Calamansi Juice to Health and Beauty

Most of the time, we suffer from illnesses which are caused by the infection of foreign microorganisms into our body. This is due to our immune system that is why many individuals are seeking for the best natural ways to boost the body’s immune system and prevent these illnesses. Health conscious p…

Coconut Palm Medicinal Uses: Antiseptic And Regulates Urinary Disorders

                  Image Credit (Cocos nucifera) The coconut palm is a tall, unarmed, branchless beautiful tree, sometimes reaching over 20 meters in height. The roots grow deep, and are numerous. The leaves at …

Hair Loss During Pregnancy

Is Hair Loss During Pregnancy Normal? Some women tend to have healthy hair during pregnancy, whilst, some complain of too much hair loss and hair thinning. Pregnancy-related hair loss occurs due to changes and oscillations in the woman’s hormone profile and is quite normal. Causes of Hair…

Almonds for Good Health: Major Health Benefits of Almonds

Almonds are considered to be The King of Nuts. Adding almonds to your daily diet will add multiple nutritional benefits to your diet. Almonds are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Studies have revealed various health benefits of almonds. Knowing the benefits of almo…

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