Building Garden Soil With Herbs
By Tamra Speakman - July 11, 2014
For many of us summer is a time to work in our garden and reap a bountiful harvest. The summer heat often brings a desire for cold herbal teas to nourish and replenish our bodies. We are aware that herbs can be used as vitamins and minerals for our body but we don't often consider that the food we eat can also benefit from these herbs. Herbs can help to build the garden soil in an all--natural garden. Today I am going to share the benefits of using four different herbs to build our garden soil.
Learning Our HerbsAlfalfa-Alfalfa is a source of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus as well as trace elements of manganese, magnesium, sulfur, selenium, and iron. It also contains a growth stimulant called triaconatol. Nettle- A biblical herb that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Some of the important nutrients for our garden are nitrogen, calcium, iron, magnesium, and sulfur. Kelp-Used in the garden as a source of trace minerals, chlorophyll, and growth stimulators. Kelp is said to help release minerals into the soil. Spirulina-A rich source of trace minerals and chlorophyll; Blue-green algae like spirulina is often used while transplanting to prevent shock.
Using Herbs in The GardenThere are several ways to use these herbs in your garden.
- Powdered or dried herbs can be used by simply digging them into your soil before you plant or gently working a handful into the top layer as the plant grows.
- Leftover herbs from tea making can be added to your compost pile or allowed to dry and spread around the plant.
- Like us the garden also likes tea. You can make a tea with dried herbs by adding 1 quart of herb to a gallon of water and allowing it to sit for 1-3 days, stirring daily.
- Another alternative is to make a nourishing infusion and then dilute it in 1-3 gallons of water. This tea can be applied to the to the soil around each plant as you would any liquid fertilizer.
- An herbal fertilizer can also be made with fresh herbs. Harvest nettle and add the chopped herb to a 5 gallon bucket. Cover with water and allow to sit for 2-4 weeks. Stir daily. Strain and apply to soil around plants as you would a liquid fertilizer.
Helpful Books For Organic Gardening
- Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
- Gardening With Heirloom Seeds by Lynn Coulter
- How To Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons
- Teaming With Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis
- The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. smith