There are many benefits to growing medicinal herbs. Not only do we get to harvest and use the herbs for medicine, but the act of growing them yields tremendous benefits in the form of exercise and connection to the earth. There is also the opportunity to help others by offering them herbal remedies for their ailments.
What better use of garden space could there be than growing plants that are beneficial to our health, physically, mentally, and spiritually? In addition, it is good for the earth and plants because many of the most popular herbs, such as Echinacea, are being over harvested in the wild. At the rate that we're going, herbs like Echinacea will become extinct if we don't do something about it. One solution to this problem is growing our own medicinal herbs instead of buying them from manufacturers who are harvesting massive amounts of these herbs.
As the world gets faster and faster, balance in the form of connection to the earth becomes more and more important. We cannot afford to let ourselves become disconnected from our roots that belong to the earth which we depend on for our survival. Learning about herbs by growing them, and medicinal herbs in particular, is a very powerful way to get more connected to our planet. It is also an opportunity to beautify our homes and gardens.
Deciding what herbs to grow
When choosing which plants to grow, some research is required. One great way to choose is to look for plants that you will use yourself. So, if you have a particular health issue that may be aided by particular plants, or a specific use for an herb, grow it, nurture it, and learn about its personality. Growing herbs equals developing relationships which help us to understand the personalities of the herbs.
How much space?
When you're first starting out, start small lest you become overwhelmed by the maintenance requirements of a bigger garden. A good starting size for new gardeners is 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4m) square or round. You can expand from there if you choose.
When you're thinking about starting a new garden, it is always a good idea to map out your plans on a piece of graph paper. You can set the scale so that each square equals 1/2 foot (15 cm). Next, you should draw the paths, fences, etc in your garden so that you can see where the planting areas will be.
When figuring out how much space to allow for each plant, a good general guideline is to allow 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) for each plant. This is not an exact figure as some plants will need more room as they mature and some will require less.
It is important to take into consideration the amount of sunlight your garden gets when deciding which herbs to grow, so spend some time watching and keeping track of that.
Knowing what type of soil you have is also helpful in deciding what plants will grow best. Your soil may be sandy, rich loam, clay, gravel, or a combination of these. Figuring out what type of soil you have will help you optimize the success of your garden.
Next, plant height must be considered because you don't want to have short plants growing behind tall ones. Consulting a book that has information on the various plants you are interested in is the way to go with this.
Think about the bloom colors of the different plants you will grow so that the colors are pleasing to your eye. Taking this into consideration ahead of time makes planning your garden like painting a picture.