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Grow Your Own Herbs at Home

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Monday, September 9, 2019 - 7:00am

Amy: Hi, I am Amy Taylor…. I’m joined in the studio by Madison Christian, Graduate Student and Dietetic Intern in the Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion Department at Mississippi State University. Today, we are going to talk about easy ways to grow your own herbs at home and the health and cost benefits it can have.

Madison Christian, thank you for joining us today!

Madison: It is great to be here. Thank you for having me on the show to speak today.

Amy: When you think of planting and growing your own food it can seem time consuming and like a lot of work. It can often feel like there is not enough time in the day to make it a part of your regular schedule. However, a lot of people are interested in growing their own food and wish they had the time, knowledge, and money to do it.

Is there an easy place to start?

Madison: I am glad you asked Amy. Growing your own food is possible and does not have to be costly or time consuming. In fact, growing your own food can often help you save money in the long run. It can also be fun and help relieve stress!

Amy: That sounds great. Can you tell us more about that?

Madison: I’d be glad to. I think a good place to start growing your food at home is with herbs such as rosemary, cilantro, oregano, thyme, or any of your favorites. Herbs do not require a lot of space to grow and can be grown in a reused container, an inexpensive pot, or a home garden.  Additionally, they do not require a lot of time or attention. This makes them an ideal plant to start with. Herbs are great to use for seasoning food and add wonderful flavor and color to meals. Since herbs are flavorful and delicious they can help eliminate salt in the diet. Herbs are an excellent salt alternative.

Amy: What do you need to start growing your own herbs at home?

Madison: First select the herbs you would like to grow. Young plants, also called transplants, are easy to work with and are ready to harvest in a short amount of time. You can also start herbs from a seed if you prefer. Seeds take longer to grow to the point that they are ready to harvest. Choose what works best for you. Make sure each herb is in its own container if you plan to grow it indoors so it has plenty of room to grow. If you plan to plant the herbs in your home garden, make sure the herbs are spaced out according to the recommendations on the package so they do not become crowded.

Amy: What are important factors to consider when growing herbs? Herbs require sufficient sunlight. If you plan to keep the herbs indoors, make sure to place them in the windowsill. Another idea, is placing them on your doorstep or balcony to make sure they get enough sunlight. The amount of sunlight needed depends on the herb. Make sure to follow the recommendations on the packaging. If you plant the herbs in the garden, make sure they will be exposed to sunlight and will not be in the shade most of the time. Another important step for the health of herbs is watering them. Soil should be slightly moist, not dry or soggy.

Amy: Do you know of a specific resource for people to use if they have questions about planting herbs? Also, as a college student, have you had the opportunity to grow herbs?

Madison: A wonderful resource is the MSU extension service website. Their website is www.extension.msstate.edu. Just by searching the word herb you will see a range of results that provide helpful information to guide you in the process of planting and growing herbs.

I have had the opportunity to grow herbs as a college student. College students are often limited in their ability to grow their own food due to living in apartment complexes and on campus. The ability to grow herbs indoors make them practical for college students. I was also exposed to the availability of plots at the MSU community garden located on campus behind the MAFES store and the MSU Dairy Plant. The MSU community garden is awesome and I was very excited to learn that plots are available to MSU students. 

Amy: Thank you for talking with us today. Do you have any concluding remarks?

Madison: If you have any questions and are interested in growing your own herbs please use the MSU extension website at www.extension.msstate.edu. You can also contact your local Extension office with any questions you may have. I would also like to mention that having a plot in the community garden has been fun. It is a great opportunity for MSU college students. So, I encourage MSU students to engage in the community garden if they are interested. You can find more information about available plots at the community garden at www.communitygarden.msstate.edu/contact. Thanks for listening and thank you for having me, Amy!  

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