How To Start Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden The Easy Way! And Why You Should
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Have you ever wanted to start your own medicinal herb garden, but you just weren’t quite sure how to start or wondered what medicinal herbs and flowers you needed for your family? Do you have a small yard or small garden area and wondered where you would even put a medicinal garden. Well, I have good news! It’s easy to begin and the best part is that you don’t need a huge garden area to for your medicinal plants.
Most herbs and flowers are very forgiving and very hardy. I live in Colorado where our winters can be quite brutal with below freezing temperatures, flooding rains in spring and brutally hot and dry summers. We have it all here in Southern Colorado!
I have been growing my own medicinal herbs and flowers for many years and they have all done quite well in all temperatures. As long as I have a rich, healthy soil, I have found out I can grow just about anything I plant. I plant both in my greenhouse and in my garden area. I also plant in containers.
I buy pretty much all my garden seeds at Botanical Interests. They are a brand I trust and know that their seeds never fail my expectations.
Your garden design can be simple homemade raised beds by using wood, rocks, concrete, the sky is really the limit here. Be creative and use your imagination! You can add the medicinal herbs all over your landscape as long as you can keep them manageable. For larger plants, you can space them between shade loving vegetables.
Here are 18 DIY Raised Beds That Are Just Beautiful. Click Here to get your ideas going!
Why You Should Start A Medicinal Herb Garden
It is my own personal and humble opinion, that everyone should have their own medicinal herb garden. The herbs preserve easily and in case of an emergency, you will have them readily available. Dried herbs are perfect for emergency or survival packs for easy use. Herbs, fresh or dried, are extremely expensive if store- bought and their freshness cannot be guaranteed. How long have they sat on the shelf in the store? What fillers do they add to their commercially made product other than 100% product?
The herbs and flowers
First of all, figure out what you want your medicinal herbs and flowers for. Do you want to make salves and lotions for wound care, burns or minor cuts and dry skin? Or do you want to make your own all natural, organic beauty products with your freshly picked herbs and flowers? Do you want to make soothing, delicious teas? As for me, I do all of the above with my medicinal herbs and have them creatively spread throughout my entire garden area.
If you are just beginning a medicinal herb garden, it is best to start small and easy and then work your way up to more complicated plantings as you gain your new found knowledge of each plant, how big they will grow, and what is the best medicinal use for them.
Take Calendula for instance. This is a fast growing, very hardy, annual flower that you can use for salve making for wound healing. You can make a wonderful beauty lotion for your face or you can make a cream for your baby. And yes, you can eat it! Calendula is popular in most baby lotions because of it’s mild and gentle moisturizing effect. It grows in small spaces and is not finicky about the soil it grows in.
Below is a list of the easiest and fastest growing medicinal herbs and medicinal flowers. They are hardy and will grow in almost any condition. If you are a first time grower of these herbs, and a first time user of making your own medicinal medicine and beauty products then you should start with these:
Peppermint– Needs to be in a container! It spreads very quickly and will overtake your garden if not contained. For hundreds of years peppermint has been used to treat stomach upset, nausea, indigestion and bloating. It is wonderful to use in soaps and beauty products for it’s scent. You can use a starter plant or direct sow the seeds. It is tolerant of most soil conditions, even poor soil conditions.
lemon balm– perfect for container planting. Grows rapidly. Smells heavenly! Lemon balm is always used as an insect repellent and works well in sprays. This is my favorite herbal tea and tincture. It can been started by seed or by starter plant. It is wonderful for easing an upset tummy.
sage– needs to be trimmed to be kept in a small space. Will grow very large if not carefully watched. It can be placed in a container. Sage has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It is very popular to use as a gargle for sore throats and for sore gums. And delicious to cook with! It is great to help with dandruff. Just steep several large leaves in hot water for approximately 15-30 minutes. Let sit until cool and add small amounts to your regular shampoo with each use.
Rosemary – can grow very large if not trimmed regularly. I plant mine in a large container and bring it indoors in winter and have fresh Rosemary all year long for my medicinal creations and beauty products (great hair rinse!) and for cooking. Beautiful rosemary is said to sharpen memory and stimulate brain function. It is also known for supporting the circulatory and nervous systems. It is antibacterial and antiviral and is perfect for adding to your homemade cleaning products or making a nice herbal tea for a natural pain killer and anti-inflammatory.
thyme– perfect for container planting. It spreads quickly if not contained. Thyme has been used for centuries to help with colds, flu and respiratory issues. It is wonderful as a tea and can be liberally spread on any dishes after cooking. It has also been used as an appetite stimulant and as an expectorant. Can easily sow with seeds or as a small starter plant. Try Lemon Thyme for a delicious herbal tea!
Calendula– also known as pot marigold, needs only a small section of space. Can interplant between vegetables. Tolerant of even poor soil conditions. Easy to direct sow seeds or can use a starter plant. makes wonderful salves. Can be taken internally by adding petals to salads or making a tea. Easy to dry in a dehydrator and store for future use. Has anti-inflammatory benefits. Here is a great and very easy to do recipe for calendula salve: How to Make Calendula Salve from A Delightful Home website.
Echinacea– Needs only a small space. Can interplant between vegetables. Drought tolerant and will grow well in most soil types. Echinacea will usually grow it’s flowers in the second year of growth, but you can use the entire plant, especially the roots for your medicinal remedies. Roots, leaves and flowers can all be put into a tincture for year round cold and flu fighting capabilities. How To Make a Tincture
Lavender– Will grow fairly large if not trimmed. I put my lavender bushes in the corners of my garden and just let them go right up the fence. They take very little space in my garden and they do not interfere with any other plants. Lavender has so many wonderful benefits that this is a must have plant for your garden. It is very easy to start by either direct sow of seeds or by using a starter plant.
Lavender uses: add flowers and leaves to your tea. Steep in hot water for several minutes and ..YUM! Add crushed dried lavender flowers to your homemade soap for a wonderful fresh smell in the morning. Lavender essential oil is also a disinfectant to add to your homemade cleaning needs. Read my Blog post Essential Oils and Herbs: The Best Homemade Recipes! to find wonderful herbal creations that I make myself and from many other creative bloggers who share their own herbal products. And my post Best Herbal Teas To Make At Home.
German Chamomile – small and delicate these flowers can be placed in a small space and do very well. If you want to gather and preserve chamomile easily, it is best to keep them bunched together in a small space. If you spread them throughout your garden, it will be more difficulty gathering the very small delicate flowers. Chamomile tea is famous for a before bedtime relaxant to help give a sound sleep. It delicate flowers are wonderful and very fragrant added to soaps and salves to help moisturize and sooth skin. Caution: German chamomile is also a blood thinner and should not be taken with certain medications. Consult your doctor if pregnant before taking
Yarrow- yarrow will grow very fast and will be quite happy anywhere in your garden area. You can reserve a small corner of your garden for a few plants and spread them around your entire garden between your vegetables. For best medicinal benefit, make sure to get wild White yarrow. The yellow and red do not have the same health benefits as the white yarrow. Here in Colorado wild white yarrow grows wild everywhere. Yarrow is a very powerful herb that is known to stop minor bleeding when crushed and applied to a wound. It has diuretic properties and is a vasodilator. Prefers well drained soil and sunlight but is not finicky.
Did you know that you can grow your own organic ginger and turmeric in a container in a sunny corner of your home. Neither of these medicinal roots grow fast. In fact they are very slow growing, both taking approximately nine months to produce more roots, but I mention them, since they are so very easy to grow and you can just stick them in a corner out of the way. Once ready, just wipe away some of the compost and pull off a small plug of ginger or turmeric to use in your culinary creations or as a wonderful medicinal tea. Both have anti-inflammatory properties and the medical research of turmeric is proving to be a medicinal herb gardeners dream!
Try this Yummy Creamy Turmeric tea here. This recipe also has ginger root in it for extra immune boosting benefits.