Julia’s Inn: Growing herbs and vegetables throughout the year

By Julia Michniewicz, N.D.

You don’t need to give up taste and good-quality food just because your garden is closed. Fresh culinary creations can grow indoors all year round with minimal effort, space and supplies. Broccoli, kale, mustard greens, radishes, arugula, to name a few, along with chives, basil and greens for salad. There is nothing more rewarding than growing your own freshly-grown herbs and veggies to add to your diet and to garnish your favorite dishes.

While some herbs take longer to germinate, for others like basil, cilantro, fenugreek, dill and chives, growth to harvest is within two weeks. Order seeds from catalogs or have started seedlings come to your home directly. The best value for your dollar lies in sourcing common herbs, and the selection of varieties is steadily broadening.

Choose your container for your indoor garden. I personally have an indoor garden, which allows me to grow more than herbs and spring greens. In the summer it stands on my deck, and in winter it is in my home, allowing me to grow gourmet lettuce, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, basil and cucumber, just to name a few. I pick my own salad every day, and when I need to replant, it is as simple as putting in my seedlings in their own unique spot. My system is a soil-free system, which means there is no weeding, tilling, kneeling, or getting dirty. That works for me. If you choose to have containers, you need to make sure that your soil is a high quality and the pH is correct so it does not pose more of a problem due to growing indoors vs. outdoors.

Sweet basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow. Basil germinates fairly quickly in about four to five days and is ready to harvest 10 days later. Don’t overwater your basil, and if the soil does not have the correct pH, then there could be a mold issue. I love using this wonderful culinary herb for tomato basil soup, put on wheat/gluten-free pasta and add to garlic for a wonderful pesto.

Cilantro is a wonderful herb, and I suggest having my clients use it when doing heavy metal cleanses. Cilantro is another quick-to-germinate, and within two weeks your cilantro will be ready to harvest.

Dill weed is a beautiful, feathery green that has a unique taste and fragrance. I am so glad that my indoor tower has grow lights, for dill requires sufficient lighting to keep it from stretching and becoming lanky. I love dill for my egg, fish, pickles and sweet potato recipes.

I could go on and on with what I grow with my indoor garden. If you are interested in purchasing one, please feel free to call me and talk to me about having your own self-sustaining garden. With the cost of food and the question of where your food is coming from, this is another way to be proactive in your health and to be your own doctor and to know where your food source is coming from.

Julia Michniewicz is a Naturopathic Physician who is celebrating her 15th year cancer free and chose not to do the chemical therapy and radiation treatments. If Julia can help you with your health issues naturally or indoor gardening, contact her in her Rockford office at (815) 962-3326.

From the Nov. 19-25, 2014, issue

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