Tag Archives: herb garden

9 Herbs to Grow for Digestive Health

Recent studies have pointed out just how important our digestive health is. Did you know that your digestion can affect not just your physical health but your mental health as well? The gut influences the amount of serotonin (a hormone that regulates feelings of happiness) the body produces. While there are many components to a healthy digestive system, the following herbs all have a history of being used to support digestive health. Consider adding a couple to your garden and diet this year.

Fennel

Native to the Mediterranean, fennel has been used as a carminative  (to treat flatulence and related discomfort) for centuries. Medicinally, it’s typically consumed in tea and was sometimes used in “gripe water” once commonly used for infants.

Chamomile

While today many think of chamomile tea as being good for relaxation it’s also excellent for digestion. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties which can help soothe upset stomachs and reduce gas.

Sage

For most, sage is now thought of as solely a culinary herb but it has long been used as a digestive tonic. It’s astringent and antibacterial and is believed to help treat diarrhea and calm gastritis.

Anise Hyssop

A tasty tea made with anise hyssop can be enjoyed with a meal to help promote digestion and reduce gas and bloating. It’s great for bees too!

Mint 

Drinking mint tea is a tasty way to aid your digestion and reduce nausea. In some studies taking peppermint oil has been shown to decrease symptoms related to IBS.

Dandelion

Odds are this one is probably already growing in your garden. It may seem like a nuisance but dandelion is a very tasty and helpful plant! Full of nutrients, all parts of the dandelion are edible and some studies have shown consuming dandelion to help with digestion and reduce constipation.

Ginger

It has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia as a culinary and medicinal herb. Ginger is excellent for treating nausea, heartburn, and morning sickness. It can be made into tea or candied for on-the-go relief.

Goldenseal

Though research into goldenseal is ongoing it has a long history of being used to treat gastrointestinal issues and is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, antibacterial properties. Largely due to overharvesting this North American native is endangered. Planting goldenseal in your woodland can help ensure its survival.

Turmeric

Its anti-inflammatory properties have lent turmeric to a number of medicinal uses including treating arthritis but it is also excellent at supporting digestive health. Turmeric is traditionally used in a number of Indian dishes. It’s what gives curry that bright yellow color! You can also make it into tea or golden milk for a warm, relaxing drink.

If you often struggle with digestive issues or are simply interested in herbalism you may want to make room in your garden for a couple of these wonderful plants.

Another great way to support your digestive health is by eating plenty of probiotics. Pick up some cabbage seeds and check out our easy instructions for fermenting your own sauerkraut.

***We’re not doctors, always check with your physician before attempting to diagnose or treat any condition.

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The Potager Garden

A potager or kitchen garden is essentially just a backyard, family, garden. However they typically include a mixture of vegetables, herbs, and ornamental plants. While tidy rows may be the most practical for a market gardener you don’t necessarily have to go that route for a kitchen garden. Picture cabbages, chard, and thyme tucked in between rose daffodils and roses. They’re the ultimate blend of practicality and beauty.

Benefits of a Potager

  • Including a blend of different plants helps make potagers pest and disease resistant.
  • They’re gorgeous! Potager gardens aim to nourish both body and soul.
  • You can make the most of a small space. They don’t need a specific size or layout, just work with what you’ve got.
  • They’re easy to maintain because they often shade out weeds once the season gets going and quite often contain hardy perennials.
  • They help attract pollinators, birds, and beneficial insects. Having a variety of plants and structure makes your garden more appealing to these wonderful creatures.

Design

Making a potager of your own is quite simple. If it’s an option you probably want it located close to your house so you have easy access for harvest and enjoyment. Then you can simply start adding your favorite plants!

For an interesting look it’s a good idea to blend plants of different heights, colors, and textures. You can also add texture by adding wood or stone raised beds, old iron gates, trellises, terracotta pots and other gardening materials.

Adding Perennials

You may also want to add a variety of perennials. Just keep in mind that some perennials like mint and lemon balm can spread easily and take over entire beds when left unchecked. Fruit like strawberries, raspberries, and currants are great additions. There’s nothing like walting through your garden and enjoying a few freshly picked berries! If you have enough space you can even add fruit trees. You can choose dwarf varieties or espalier (train a tree to a fence or wall) a tree to save space.

Permantent Features

Another important feature of most potagers is permanent pathways. This allows you to easily stroll through your garden and harvest and enjoy your plants. Permanent pathways also keeps you from having to stand in actual growing areas and compacting the soil.

You may also want to consider adding a picnic table or some seating to you potager. Homegrown meals are extra special when enjoying amongst the flowers.

Large gardens filled with rows of vegetable crops certaintly are productive and have their place. However you shouldn’t forget that part of the reason to have a garden is simply to enjoy it. Creating a potager close to your home can help you grow and eat more vegetables and give you a lovely place to relax.

10 Reasons to Grow Thyme

German Winter Thyme

Thyme certainly isn’t the most popular herb in backyard gardens but we’re stumped as to why! This little plant has a lot of great things going for it. Check out some of thyme’s benefits to learn more about why it deserves a spot in your garden.

Thyme has medicinal properties.

Thyme may be generally thought of as a culinary herb but it also as a long history of medicinal use. It is primarily used to treat lung and throat issues like colds, coughs, and sore throats. It’s an excellent ingredient for homemade cough drops, soothing teas, and gargles. Thyme can also be used for soothing for upset stomachs.

It’s a hardy perennial.

It’s a hardy perennial. At SESE we offer three varieties of thyme. German Winter Thyme and Creeping Thyme are hardy in zones 4-10 and Summer Thyme is hardy in zones 6-9. If you’d like a low maintenance garden it should definitely be on your list.

Thyme can be started from seed.

While many perennials can be a bit tricky to get going from seed thyme is actually quite easy. It can be started indoors with other garden plants like tomatoes and peppers and set out after the danger of frosts have passed in the spring. It may take a little while to get going but not having to buy transplants may be worth the wait.

It’s delicious.

In the kitchen, thyme is incredible versatile. It can be used in sweets like shortbread cookies or savory dishes like sauces, meats, and beans.

Thyme is beautiful.

Creeping Thyme

Thyme plants a truly beautiful and different varieties offer a plant perfect for every garden. German winter thyme is shrubby and upright while summer thyme is a bit smaller. Creeping thyme is a vining plant that creates an excellent ground cover for rock and herb gardens. Even though they have different appearances all three can be used as culinary or medicinal herbs.

It attracts beneficial insects.

Thyme’s little flowers attract a variety of beneficial insects including native pollinators, honeybees, and predatory wasps.

Thyme makes an excellent companion plant.

It can be planted in with cabbage, potatoes, eggplant, and strawberries. It’s thought that it repels cabbage worms, flea beetles, and tomato hornworms.

It’s good for you.

In case you needed a reason besides its wonderful flavor to add thyme to your recipes thyme is very nutritious. It’s high in iron and antioxidants.

Thyme will tolerate shade.

If you have an area of your garden that’s get’s too much shade to be an excellent vegetable patch you might want to add some creeping thyme. It will do fine in areas that are fairly shady.

It doesn’t need much water.

While you need to water your thyme plants while they’re getting established once they’re mature these Mediterranean plants require very little water. They’re perfect for water conscious gardeners or those in drought-prone areas.

If you’re planning your garden for next year you may want to add thyme to your list! These are just a few of the many reasons this wonderful herb deserves a spot in your garden. What’s your favorite thing about thyme?

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