rosemary on a balcony at sunset

Grow A Little Weed for Your Health

Not that kind of weed! I’m talking about herbs, like the rosemary pictured above. Most culinary herbs aren’t really anything more than weeds. So why should you grow them? There are a lot of really good reasons!Herbs are really easy to grow. In fact, many of them are so easy to grow, they’re downright hard to kill. I grow a few herbs in pots on my balcony. Fresh mint is great for Mojitos!

You can start your herbs from seed, which I did with one of the pots. Or the really easy way is to go buy those live herb packages at the grocery store. Just remove the plastic wrapper and add them to the planter! That’s what I did with the rosemary above. It was just a little shoot last year when I planted it and now it needs pruning.

If you plant perennial herbs, you won’t have to replant them in following years. It can actually get pretty expensive stocking up on herbs from the store. Especially if you’re buying good quality herbs. Even still, there’s a good chance they won’t be as good as the ones you grow at home. There’s a big difference between fresh 2 minutes ago and fresh from the store. You can even dry the herbs yourself if you want to store large amounts.

Now for the big nutritional reason. Most produce at the grocery store has been selectively bred to have a long shelf life so that it can survive the long processing and transportation required by our food system. That usually means that these industrial agriculture varieties are lower in nutrition than the original produce they were bred from. The higher the nutrition, the faster the produce decomposes.

Herbs haven’t been messed with in that way because they’re basically weeds, and it would probably ruin their flavor. Herbs are very good at mining nutrition from the soil. They are generally pioneer species. That means that they grow in the worst conditions because they are the best at finding what they need. The benefit to this is that when you eat the herbs, you get all that nutrition too. You are what your food eats, even if that food is basil!

It can be fun and satisfying to prepare food with home grown herbs. I live on the fourth floor in a one bedroom apartment, so a garden is pretty much a no-go. But I have several planters that produce some of my favorite herbs most of the year! And all but one of those planters will keep coming back year after year.

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