Ten Mistakes New Herb Gardeners Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

Originally from The Skinny Gourmet

Image from The Skinny Gourmet

So you’re thinking of herb gardening, or maybe you tried it last year and it was an utter disaster? Have no fear. There are a few simple mistakes that many herb newbies make (and I know, because I made most of ’em myself). Master these simple and practical tips for herb gardening and you’ll be using your own fresh herbs like Mario Batali in no time.

Fresh herbs are one of the greatest ways to increase the taste of your food healthfully. I often toss whatever leafy herbs are hand liberally into a salad to add unexpected variations in flavor (basil, oregano and dill are all great choices). Fresh herbs can add punch to sauces or create intensely flavorful crusts for roasted meats. While fresh herbs are now regularly available at grocery stores year round, growing your own herbs is a great way to build mastery over your food. Growing herbs at home can be easy whether you live in a house in the suburbs or an apartment in the city.

Let it be known that I have the blackest of thumbs. I routinely kill houseplants and whether from too much love or too much neglect I never really know. Moreover, I live in a condo in Chicago, so I only have pots on my back fire escape as my city “garden.” In fact, I’ll argue that it is my black thumb that gives me the bona fides to give beginner gardeners tips, because I have figured out how to grow herbs and am painfully aware of every lesson I learned along the way.

It surprises me how often I bump into friends who are flummoxed about some aspect of herb gardening. And strangely, I feel there are few practical guides to growing herbs on the internet for someone just starting out. Most of the advice is geared towards high end gardeners who can make sense of soil PH and whatnot. When I was starting out, what I really needed was some sort of herb gardening for dummies. So here is my quick and practical advice for growing herbs for beginners.  Continue reading “Ten Mistakes New Herb Gardeners Make (and How to Avoid Them!)”

6 DIY Tips for Watering Your Houseplants While Away on Vacation [Illustration]

What can you do if you’re about to leave for a big trip and can’t find a plant-sitter to regularly water your indoor plants? Just like pets, your indoor ferns and marigolds need attention, too!

Fortunately, there are many simple and cheap DIY tricks to keep your green friends properly hydrated so that you don’t return home to a house full of wilting and yellowing plants. For many houseplants, it can be as simple as sealing a plastic bag over the foliage, which acts as a miniature greenhouse, preventing the soil from drying up quickly.

Continue reading “6 DIY Tips for Watering Your Houseplants While Away on Vacation [Illustration]”