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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean

Creating a Coastal Herb Garden

Drought resistant, fragrant, and beautiful blooms!

General Description: Here on the Mendocino Coast, we are fortunate enough to have a climate that numerous herbs thrive on. Once established, herbs become drought resistant, carry a delectable aroma, and might even have a seasonal bloom. Butterflies, and bees love them and deer DON'T!! There are a variety of herbs that are used for culinary purposes in the kitchen, and ornamental attractions in the landscape, but what many people may not know, is that those same herbs could have a medicinal healing affect as well.

Soil: Most herbs thrive on the same kind of conditions. Well-drained soil, with natural amendments and fertilizers help keep your plants happy. Soil that is too clayey drains slow and contains little organic matter. Sandy soil doesn't hold on to nutrients well and drains quickly. Adding compost, manure (processed manure), peat, and/or prepared mixes to your soil is essential for successful growth.

Light: Like many plants in the garden, herbs require at least 6 hours of light each day. If your home does not provide the recommended requirement, then planting in pots might be essential, so you're able to move them around. New herb plants should not be exposed to temperatures lower than 50 degrees (F). Once mature, they are much more hearty and able to withstand cold temperatures.

Water: Once established, herbs are drought resistant. During the first year they require more regular watering until their roots are well grounded.

Fertilizing: Herbs don't require too much fertilizing once they are full-grown. It never hurts to add a little fertilizer when first planting. Making sure your soil is not too full of clay or sand will help keep the fertilizing to a minimum.

Maintenance: Little maintenance is required. Pinching the tops, pruning the plants, and basic grooming will encourage your plants to become flourished and bushy. Each plant has it's own needs for how this should be done, so make sure to read up on your plants before doing so.

Pest and Disease: Pests are not as problematic as diseases may be. Ounces of prevention may be the safest and best defense against disease. Having well-drained soil will prevent root rot from occurring.

Favorite plant picks:

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Chive (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum) 
  • Lavender (Lavandula spp)
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) 
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) 
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgare)

References: Botanical Body Care, Karin C. Uphoff M.S., M.H. 2007 Eco Mii, www.ecomii.com/gardening/herbs The Herb Gardener, http://theherbgardener.blogspot.com A Pinch Of, www.apichof.com/simplegarden1104.html 

Culinary Yet Medicinal Here is a list of some Herbs you might use in the Kitchen that also serve a medicinal purpose as well:

Basil – Helps balance the nervous system and boosts immunity. It also relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive system.

Chive – It's stimulating to the appetite and promotes digestion. The onion family generally supports the immune system, but chive is highest in Iron.

Coriander – Has a cooling effect on the body. It is antispasmodic, and the essential oil can be applied externally to painful joints.

Garlic – The ultimate blood cleanser (cooked or raw) and natural antibiotic (raw only). The fresh juice is also effective for cramps, spasms, and seizures. It lowers blood pressure and reduces clot/platelet aggregation within blood vessels. It is an antioxidant and stimulant to the immune system.

Marjoram – Is both a stimulant and relaxant. It is antiseptic and promotes digestion. Both marjoram and its cousin, oregano expel mucus, ease cramps, and soothe the bowels.

Rosemary – Is useful for indigestion, colic, nausea, flatulence, and nervousness. It stimulates and nourishes the brain and lungs and is high in calcium and antioxidants.

Sage – Is a muscle relaxant, antiseptic, and astringent, and helps slow fluid secretions(perspiration, vaginal discharge, and breast milk, etc.). It makes a good gargle.

Thyme – Is on of the strongest antimicrobial herbs, as it activates and strengthens the immune system. In excessive amounts it can cause depression.

Reference – Botanical Body Care, Karin C. Uphoff, M.S., M.H. Submittted by Master Gardener Daisy Hancock, 2010