Be an Eco-Diva With Your Own Indoor Herb Garden!

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plantgrowBasil, thyme, sage, mint, oregano and parsley.

Who doesn’t love the taste of these fresh herbs in their cooking? Well Campus Divas, it’s time to bring that taste to your dorm or apartment! Instead of paying supermarket prices for these herbs, why not try growing them at home?  College comes along with new expenses and saving money is on the mind of most college students. An indoor vegetable and herb garden can help save money in many ways; plus it can get you started on a journey to not only a new hobby but potentially also a healthier life style. We know that when it comes to student living, space is limited, so we are going to focus our tips on growing herbs in a small space.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to grow these herbs indoors, even in small spaces. All you need is a pot, some soil, a few herb plants of your choosing, and a nice place in the sun for them to grow. If you still don’t think you have the green thumb that you need to make this project work, then here are some great tips to make sure you have fresh herbs all year round!

 

My Herb Growing Recipe:

1.       The first thing you need to think about is location; plants need an ample amount of sunlight so pick the sunniest spot in your dorm, room, or apartment. Window sills are a great location but if you don’t have one you can easily place your herbs on a table or desk in a nice sunny spot. Remember, the sun’s energy provides food for your plants so it is essential for a healthy herb garden. A lot of herbs also only need partial sunlight which makes indoor herb gardens so successful.

2.       Choose the herbs you want to grow. We recommend growing the herbs you use the most first such as cilantro, mint, parsley, and basil. There are also some great herbs you can grow for natural remedy purposes. For example, mint is a great calming herb that can help with headaches and can also help with digestion.

3.       Find the right container for your plants. Depending on the amount and variation of herbs you want to grow, there are many different options you could go with when choosing how to contain and grow your herbs. You could use the classic terra cotta pots, or even recycled bottles can work great. You can find many great ideas on Pinterest and we have a few examples for you to check out below. Remember: any container you use must have proper drainage either in the form of holes in the bottom (don’t forget to put a plate underneath to catch any excess water) or put some rocks in the bottom of your pots to create space for excess water.

4.       Add soil to the mix. This you may need to purchase from your local garden store, but depending on the time of year a lot of other stores can also have soil available. We recommend regular potting soil which has the added nutrients needed for growing seedlings.

5.       It’s time to start planting! We recommend starting with your herbs in sprouted seedling form as they will grow faster and more easily.  When planting, make sure to research each herb before putting them in the soil as different herbs have different soil depth requirements.

6.       Add Water. Once your seedlings have been placed in their new home, it’s time to add water! You will want to try your best to keep the soil moist by watering them as needed. A great general guideline is to check the soil daily to see if more water is needed. It’s also important to note that some herbs may needmore frequent watering while others will need less.

7.       Let them simmer till fully mature. A good tip to remember when your herbs are ready is to never harvest more than one third of the plant at a time. This allows that one third to grow back and allows the plant to last much longer. Tip: Never harvest the largest bottom leaves as they are the main food gathering source of the plant and help keep your herbs growing.

8.       It’s time to eat! Cut up some of your delicious fresh herbs and throw them into your favorite recipe and enjoy! It is unbelievable what a difference fresh herbs can make to your culinary experiments!

So now that you have the basics down, here are some great extra tips that could help make things go a little smoother as you get started with your very own herb garden!

 

A Few Extra Tips and Tricks:

  • If you are a bit unsure of what herbs to start your gardening project with, we recommend basil or mint as a great first herb. Both basil and mint grow quickly with relatively little maintenance and they have many uses in cooking and other remedies. Be careful when growing mint to keep it contained because it can spread very easily and, if allowed will, take over your herb garden.
  • How to trim your herbs properly. We recommend that you cut your herbs just above a set of growing leaves and keep on taking from the top as this will allow the herbs to grow new shoots. Once your plants have flowered they will not last too much longer, but if you continue to cut them back they will continue to grow for several months.
  • Plants also like heat so make sure the space you keep your herbs is warm enough and if they are on a window sill make sure the window is not drafty.
  • Remember that before starting your herb garden, make sure to also do your own research for any specific requirements the herbs you chose might have. Every herb can be a little different when it comes to care, harvesting, and cooking.

 

Now that you have your instructions and tips in the front of your mind, you can start to think about how you will set up your personal herb garden. The best thing is that not only will your functional indoor garden add to your home cooking but it will also add to your overall environment! Plants in your living space help with air quality, and even mood, so let’s make it unique. There are tons of different ways to make this project your own! Check out these great Pinterest Ideas!

herb1 herb2 herb3 herb4

 

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Spring Cleaning 101

tin bucket, rug and scrubberWith the shorter days in winter, and less sunlight, it’s no wonder that when spring arrives, so too does our drive to finish up household projects, de-clutter and spring clean! Our energy levels are fueled by natural sunlight, helping us be more alert and more willing to get out there and do something.

While I love seeing spring come into season, I am not a huge fan of the cleaning and organizing that seems to also come with the start of a new season. I like the idea of everything having a place where it belongs, but with the weather so nice, it’s hard to imagine spending the time indoors.

For this reason, the Diva Team has put together a few Spring Cleaning Tips to help you get started!

One Room Rule: It’s hard to commit to cleaning an entire house or apartment in just one day, which is why setting aside a day for each room will give you the time you need to clean well, and still enjoy the nice weather.

Inside and Out: Surface cleaning is not enough to keep things tidy. For example, the clutter on the outside of your fridge can be just as overwhelming as the two week old leftovers in the fridge. Free up space on your fridge door by recycling holiday cards, grocery lists and other out dated paper notices. Give small appliances like your coffee maker a thorough clean by running a cycle of white vinegar through them.

Supply Choices:  When choosing a cleaning tool, choose reusable where possible. Microfiber cloths (window care), feather or wool dusters and reusable spray bottles are all great options. Additionally, DIY and organic cleansers most often work better than those laden with chemicals and are safe for children and pets to be around.

Hanger Trick:  At the start of the season flip your hangers so all the hooks face the same direction. Each time you wear a shirt, flip the hanger around. At the end of the season, give the clothes whose hanger didn’t switch direction away to a local charity.

Get in There: For those with tiles, whether in the bathroom, kitchen or flooring, this DIY tile grout cleaner is great for clearing up the debris and faded colour.

Exercise Gear Care: Your water bottle, yoga mat, weights and elliptical machine also need a good clean every so often. Try these simple yoga mat cleaning and reusable water bottle care tips before settling into your next sun salutation.

Sink Care: Kitchener sinks, showers and tubs are some of the most commonly used spaces in a home. With this DIY sink and tub cleaner you can turn those grayish white sinks and faded metals to look brand new.

Wall Care: our places are full of them, but how often do we actually clean off? Take down pictures, move the furniture from the wall and gently wipe down the walls with a good dusting mitt or cold water and a nonabrasive sponge. Be sure to use the right cleaning solution for the type of paint on each wall.

Share your spring cleaning tip with the Diva Community today!