Since embracing the idea of a sustainable lifestyle, one very important question springs to mind if you plan to grow your own herbs. For sustainable living, do you need to possess a green thumb? I believe it is important to do something, anything, to just make a small start to this new way of living. What better way to start this, than with the satisfying feeling of growing your own food, or in this case, a herb garden as a beginning point? Just yummy when you add them to your food and don’t forget they have medicinal qualities too, if you have the right herbs.
Are You A Green Thumb, Brown Thumb or Black Thumb?
For the sake of clarity, let me tell you what I mean by green thumb, brown thumb and black thumb.
A green thumb is someone who can grow plants without even trying very hard. They always remember to water them, they plant them in just the right spots and choose the right fertilisers.
A brown thumb is someone who doesn’t always remember to water the plants, takes pot luck at planting them wherever they may grow and can usually coax some life into a plant. Some live and some die.
A black thumb is someone who no matter what they do, they never seem to be able to grow plants. They NEVER remember to water them, or if they do, they over-water them, they put too much fertiliser in or none at all, and they plant the seeds or seedlings in the exact place they shouldn’t be, either in too much sun or not enough.
Lock Me Up, I’m A Danger To Plants Apparently
In light of this, I realised that one of the first things that I need to look into is my current capability in terms of growing my own food. Yep, you guessed it! I’m a black thumb. Not a green thumb nor even a brown thumb. A Black thumb.
In other words I spell doom, gloom and death for plants. Ask anyone who knows me and they will laugh and tell you I am telling the truth here. My friend has even had to rescue indoor plants of mine, and you can’t do much wrong with them can you? Actually I wouldn’t really know this because anything to do with greenery is just not my forte’. My Mum is the gardener in the family.
My Herb Garden Bites The Dust
Let me give you an example. While I was doing my Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy degree, I studied the subject of Herbal Medicine Botany. I loved it. I couldn’t wait to start growing my herb garden so that when it came to learning how to use the herbs for medicinal purposes, I would have them on hand ready to go.
I bought a few different types of herbs. From memory, I brought home Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender, Calendula, Comfrey, Basil, Echinacea and something called the Toothache Plant. I was fascinated by the fact that mother nature has provided us with such a wonderful plethora of healing agents right outside our doors.
The Grim Reaper Of The Plant Kingdom Strikes Again
Naturally I looked after them well and they thrived. NOT!!! I don’t know what happened, but they died. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Dead, gone, dusted. Not one single one was saved. I can only put it down to the fact that my thumb is definitely a black one, with a grim reaper attached just to be sure the poor plants didn’t survive. I was so disappointed.
My subject told me all the great qualities of these plants, hinted at growing them so that you can make your own tinctures, ointments and teas, but sadly it didn’t tell me how to keep them alive. I definitely need to do my homework once I decide to start growing herbs again. My daughter is growing a lovely Heirloom Rosemary plant and an Heirloom Coriander also, and it is growing really well. I had better not get too close then hadn’t I?
What Did I Do Wrong?
Really, what did I do wrong? Some say I didn’t water them, although I’m sure I did on occasion. It is highly possible I watered them at the wrong time of day also. I have heard that when you water plants, if you live in a hot climate like I do, it is best to water them in the evening so they don’t get burned in the sunlight after watering them. This is a definite possibility because they were in the sun a lot. I also think I may have placed them in the wrong position. I had them on my front porch where they were exposed to full sunlight for a large portion of the day and I’m wondering if this was the reason they did not survive, they were in the sun when they were watered too getting back to the other thought of not watering them until the evening. Needless to say, I really need to do more research on growing herbs, before I can even attempt to go to the next level and grow food in terms of vegetables and fruit.
Not A Green Thumb Either?
So in answer to my title question, for sustainable living, do you need to have a green thumb? Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt. But for someone like me, having the right tools and a good source of information wouldn’t go astray and would make the impossible seem possible. I’m hoping that this website will allow me to conduct my own research and then provide some information on what I have learned on starting a herb garden.
What I Need Are Some Resources To Guide Me
I intend also to add some resources here to you to help you grow your herbs, and be on your way to a sustainable lifestyle. I think a section that covers the medicinal uses of these fantastic plants would be prudent to my efforts to educate you and to help you become more self sufficient. After all, we may not always be able to have access to supermarkets and doctors, especially if we keep destroying this beautiful, and one of a kind, planet.
Thank you for reading and please stay tuned for the next installment of how not to kill your plants.
Comments are most welcome so please add to this discussion. Do you have any funny stories yourself about killing plants?
Photo of Toothache plant courtesy of the Mudbrick Cottage Herb Garden at https://www.herbcottage.com.au/