Secrets to Benefiting From Your Own Home Herb Garden

Planting and growing herbs in your own home herb garden is a real joy. Fresh herbs smell so wonderful and it is advantageous to grow something that you can use almost on a daily basis. To be able to go out to your own home herb garden and pick fresh herbs to flavor your favorite dishes is truly a delight. I love to smell the fresh herb flavor as I am preparing my dinner when the fresh herbs I have picked are sitting on my bench.

If you have never grown your own herbs before you are in for a wonderful experience and you grow and cook your own fresh herbs. Start with those herbs that you are sure to use in your hot and cold dishes. Then over time, add more to your growing range and I am sure you will even search for recipes to incorporate the herbs that you grow.

Here are a list of herbs that I regularly use in my cold dishes:

· Basil – I will add leaves of basil to my green salads, to bean salads and put them in my sandwiches

· Mint – I tear mint leaves into my green salads and they give a salad such a lift which never ceases to amaze me – mint comes in several different varieties like spearmint and peppermint

· Fennel – I absolutely love fresh crispy fennel and tomato salad drizzles with a little French dressing. For variation some mint or parsley can be added as well.

· Rosemary – because of the fact that the leaves are rather hard I tend to use this in the dressings more than in the actual dish

· Garlic – over recent times I have almost become a ‘garlic freak’ as I use it in almost everything I can and when I am using it uncooked I do chop it finer or crush it

· Oregano – is a very nice subtle additive to a salad sandwich so try it out

· Parsley – I do like the curly leaf parsley because feel it has a stronger flavor than the flat leaf parsley and I add it to sandwiches, butters, salads of all sorts, green, bean and pasta. When I want a more subtle parsley flavor I use the flat leaf parsley

Here is a list of herbs I use in my hot dishes:

· Parley – I use this in many dishes that I cook, especially egg and vegetable dishes

· Rosemary – this goes hand in hand with lamb either pushed into the mean, laid across the top or in the basting mix. Rosemary is also very nice with vegetable dishes

· Coriander – I use in my curry or spice type dishes and in tomato dishes

· Basil – this goes great in my egg dishes like scrambled eggs and chopped up on pizzas or other tomato based dishes as it goes so well with tomatoes

· Bay laurel – leaves of this lovely little bush are beautiful in stews and the like. They do also flavor soups nicely as well. The taste is quite strong so not many leaves need to be used at any one time.

· Garlic – again I use this in so many dishes. Just about anything where I add onions I add garlic.

· Fennel – this has become a favorite and in hot dishes both the fennel bulb and the seeds can be used. The seeds are actually quite strong and not many are needed to flavor a dish.

I hope you have found my story of how I use herbs to be of some help and I am sure you will discover more herbs as you extend your range in your home herb garden and also in the cooking pot.

All You Need to Know About Growing Strawberries

Strawberries are possibly the most irresistible and beautiful fruits. Everything about them be it color, texture or flavor is appealing which is why many people love growing strawberries in their home garden.

Strawberries are really diverse fruits and are used in many mouth-watering preparations like cakes, jams, jellies, tarts, ice- creams, etc. You can try growing strawberries in your home garden and experience the pleasure of picking bountiful produce during the harvest time. Some of the important things to consider if you are planning to grow strawberries in your garden are-

Choosing the plants-Strawberries come in many varieties and are broadly classified into June Bearing, Everbearing and Day Neutrals.June bearing varieties produce a single crop annually and they have the largest berries. Everbearing and Day Neutral varieties can be harvested up to 3 times in a year. The fruits that they produce are smaller as compared to the June bearing strawberries. Everbearing and Day Neutrals are good if you have a small garden as these two varieties produce lesser runners. All these different kinds of strawberry plants are available in the market so you can choose the ones that suit your requirements.

Choosing the site- You should choose a site that gets full sun for planting strawberries as they thrive in sunny location. The area should be free from perennial weeds. Strawberries thrive well in an area that has good air circulation and a well drained soil. It is advisable not to grow strawberries in an area where peppers, tomatoes, potatoes or eggplant have been grown recently as your crop can get infected with Verticulum rot.

Preparing the soil- It is crucial to prepare the soil before planting strawberry plants. Strawberries can grow in different types of soil but sandy and loamy soils work best for them. The soil should be rich in organic matter and should be well-drained. The ideal pH range for strawberries is 5.5 to 6.5. You should get the soil tested in a laboratory before growing the plants. If it is not rich then you can add fertilizers and manure to increase the quality of soil.

Planting the strawberry plants- Once you have prepared the soil, you can plant the strawberries. They should be planted in the spring season as soon as the soil is ready to be worked upon. Dig out enough soil to accommodate the roots and plant the strawberries. There should be enough spacing between plants as they tend to produce runners. In case if you plant them really close then they would not be able to grow properly.

Mulching- Strawberry plants are very sensitive to cold climatic conditions. The soil should be covered with mulch during winter season to prevent it from freezing. Mulching is important to save the plants from serious damage during winters. Hay, Straw, Coarse Wheat and crushed cob can be used for mulching.

Care and Maintenance-During the first year, you should remove all the flowers from the plant as it helps in strengthening the roots and stem. Deflowering ensures that the plants become strong and healthy for a better fruit production in coming seasons. Watering the plants in adequate quantities is really important for good quality fruit production. Also, keep a regular check on the unnecessary weeds that tend to grow along with the strawberry plants. Remove the weeds as they utilize the nutrients from soil that are essential for the growth of your plants.

Harvesting-The fruits should be picked as soon as they are ripe because if you allow them to remain on the plants for a long time then the insects and birds will destroy them. Overripe fruits attract pests and insets so avoid leaving overripe berries on the plants.

These are the key things that should be kept in mind in case if you are planning to grow strawberries in your home garden. Proper care and maintenance will result in healthy plants that will yield beautiful sun-kissed berries.

Make sure that you buy healthy plants for your home garden so that they thrive and yield maximum fruit during the harvest season.

Beautify Your Home Decoration With LED Lights

LED lights, this brilliant piece of technology has been revolving around us for more than half a century. We have been enjoying it in our daily lives- in our calculators, clock radios, in stove and microwave displays and more recently in decorating our homes and gardens.

Using LED strip lights is the latest, energy-efficient, versatile and a very effective kind of technology to give new definition to your homes. These lights glow extremely well and make every corner to light up with glee. To brighten up your home, garden or backyard and give them a modern flair, LED lights come up with so many inventive decorating tips and tricks.

Here are some of the most impressive ways to decorate your home:

• Create a mood in living room or bedroom

LED lights come in a large variety of colors which allow you to control the ambiance of a room according to your tastes and desires. With clear blue and white tones, you can create a clean modern vibe complementing your furnishing theme. For warmer welcoming air, prefer oranges or yellows which is suitable for gatherings and parties. By installing multiple color bulbs, you can completely alter the mood of the room; dimmers and remote controls help you to control the precise light level.

• Make your Bathroom Graceful

LED strip lights are perfect for use in the bathroom because some of them are waterproof and can be placed at flat surfaces to give away the great effect and strong lighting to make scrubbing up easier. Use of green and blue LED can create a liquid, sparkling atmosphere like the bottom of sea and they can also be placed at cramped spaces such as shower cubicles.

• Glorify your Gardens and Backyard

LED lights come in single lighted strands which are easily available in single or multicolor can be used as outdoor lights on trees and fences. By decorating the trees and bushes will certainly make your home look festive, cheerful and easily noticeable from a distance as well. Other areas like yards, fences, trees, garage, lawn and the street where you live, if decorated well can give an outline to your house.

• Complementing your Decor

To compliment your home decor, try covering LED strip lights alongside the bottom of cabinet, wardrobes or beds, inside drawers and cupboards, ideal for illuminating dark corners and gives an aesthetic touch. In kitchen, it will give fresh modern feel to the cooking space providing excellent elucidation. This variety is also a great use in dining area, bars or games room type settings. Running strip lighting through book shelves and frames can draw attention to the features and furniture of room.

When it comes to lighting decorations, it is never recommended to go for cheap lights even if they are intended to use for few months only because of their possible hazards. Decorating your house with LED lights and bulbs can compliment your interior and add more beauty to your home decor. Therefore, by using this innovative lighting solution you will definitely love the idea of beautifying the house and making the house attractive and enjoyable for your family as well as for guests.