Herbs and spices ideal for tropical home gardens, that you can grow easily, either directly in soil or in pots.
Definitely most of these herbs are essential for kitchen needs, in our day today life.
Though not in a large scale, we should have at least a few of them in our garden. Because many of these herbs are not just flavouring agents, but effective home remedies too.
Surely we can use it during urgency, preferably like fever, stomach disorders, insect bites etc.
Herbs and spices for tropical home gardens
Truly, herbs that are popular in certain places, may not be the same somewhere else. There are differences in the geographical distribution of plants owing to various factors. Mostly the particular climate, soil structure, availability of rain falls, sunlight etc.
For example, plants that are common in tropical places like Kerala, may not be as such in temperate zones. For this reason, most of the indigenous cuisines are flavoured with the locally available herbs or spices.
However, fresh as well as dried herbs and spices from different parts of the world, are available in Indian markets. Similarly, Kerala’s most important exporting items to foreign markets are spices.
Given below are some examples of herbs that are popular in Kerala, and other South Indian states. Of course, we can grow these plants easily in our home gardens.
Black gold, is the popular name in which the plant is known.
Truly there are historical evidences for traders who visited India, for this most valuable spice.
Loamy rain fed soil, partial sunlight etc. are the favourable factors for better growth. Western ghats of Kerala, preferably Wayanad and Idukki districts, are the largest producers.
Generally black pepper plants are vines that need support for climbing. However, we can grow them in pots or grow bags that are popularly known as bush pepper.
Normally, stem cuttings from healthy mother plants are used for propagating pepper plants.
For growing bush pepper plants, we can use rooted lateral branches from ordinary pepper vines.
Furthermore, we can buy from nurseries good quality hybrid saplings, that produce corns in a faster way.
Surprisingly pepper corns from four or five well maintained plants, are enough for our kitchen needs.
Also we can keep these plants with other garden plants, that are equally fantastic.
Ginger is one of the unavoidable herbs, that is a wonderful spice as well. Both fresh and dried ginger are equally good for flavouring dishes.
Further, we can use different combinations of ginger as home remedies for many ailments.
Following are a few examples:
- Consuming ginger juice along with lime juice and honey, is an effective remedy for indigestion.
- Tea made with crushed pepper corns, dried ginger powder, holy basil leaves and jaggery gives relief to cough and cold.
- Chewing fresh ginger reduces the severity of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
Besides, dried ginger is one of the most important components of ayurvedic medicines. Mainly for stomach disorders, respiratory problems etc.
How to grow:
For growing ginger plants, we can use the underground tubers collected through the division of mother plants.
Well drained potting mixture enriched with nutrients, is ideal for better growth. Dried cow dung or compost mixed with garden soil and river sand is fine.
Partial sunlight and humid atmosphere are other favourable conditions.
Balconies and window sides are also suitable for keeping ginger plants. Mostly along with a few positive energy plants, flowering plants, bonsai trees etc.
Turmeric – Herbs and spices for home gardens
Turmeric is another tropical herb, that belongs to the ginger family. It is widely used for adding yellow colour to cuisines worldwide.
Curcumin, the main constituent present in turmeric, has got a number of medicinal properties.
Raw turmeric mixed with other ingredients are, effective home remedies for many ailments. Insect bites, inflammation and nasal congestion are a few examples.
- Applying a paste made with raw turmeric and holy basil leaves, gives relief to pain caused by insect bites.
- Inhaling the vapour with crushed raw turmeric boiled in water, helps clearing nasal congestion due to sinusitis.
- Sandalwood powder and raw turmeric made into a paste is a good remedy for skin rashes and freckles.
Having one or two potted turmeric plants are enough for our needs.
Methods for growing turmeric, are similar to that of ginger plants.
Being low light plants, you can definitely keep it in your balconies or other such moderately humid places.
Always remember that we should not use raw turmeric for culinary purposes.
Mint – herbs and spices for home gardens to grow easily
Mint is another refreshing herb, that is popular in almost all places in the world.
Health benefits as well as culinary uses make it one of the the most important herbs.
Leaves of the plant are wonderful sources of vitamins, mostly A C D and E.
Peppermint oil is an important ingredient used in aromatherapy. Because it has a calming effect, and widely used as an effective remedy for depression and anxiety.
Fresh mint lime is really a fantastic cooling refreshment, especially on hot summer days.
Moreover, coconut mint chutney is a tasty side dish for Kerala breakfast, preferably dosa, idly etc.
Tips to grow from stem cuttings :
Growing a few mint in our home gardens, is really essential.
Developing roots from each node of the stem, is one of the specialties of this plant. Therefore, we can use these cuttings for propagation.
Of course, we can grow mint plants even from those we buy from markets, for kitchen needs.
Cuttings of about six or seven inches length are fine.
How to grow
First, remove the lower leaves and keep the tips in a bottle of water. Within a few days, roots become longer and healthy leaves begin to appear.
Then, you can transfer these saplings to the growing pots or directly in the garden.
Never forget that fast growing and highly invasive mint plants spread widely, if grown directly in soil.
Moist well drained fertile medium is essential for better growth.
Culantro, Mexican coriander etc. are the popular names of the plant.
African coriander is an ideal substitute for cilantro and coriander leaves. Flavour as well as nutritious factors are somewhat similar, and hence we can definitely add this to dishes.
Being more pungent, we should take care while adding this to dishes. Only small quantities are enough, when compared to cilantro leaves.
Additionally, frequent replanting is not necessary, because the plant multiplies itself from roots as well as seeds.
Given above, are a few examples of herbs that we can grow easily in tropical home gardens. Certainly there are a lot more, that we can use for culinary purposes, and as home remedies.
Anyway try to grow a few of them along with other plants in your garden, balconies or indoors.