Grow, process and sell fresh, preserved and dried
herbs (seeds, parts, plants). Examples are dill, basil, cumin,
celery seed and cilantro (coriander).

It is surprising that with so many gardeners and the high prices
of herbs on the shelves of the supermarkets, that many more
haven't gotten into the lucrative field of herb growing and

When you in the store for herbs and spices, they are usually
expensive -- $2.00 per ounce and up. Still many still grow wild!
Bay leaves for example are available free by the bushel on bay
trees that grow all over the south.

Herbs and spices have been around for centuries -- they were used
in ancient times to mask "funny" tastes in meats that could not
be refrigerated, "people odor" before deodorants were invented
and of course, to add a little variety to the same foods eaten
day after day, because all that was available was what was in

Spices were discovered and brought in by caravans to liven up
otherwise drab diets and making living "up close" more tolerable.
Winters in the European areas were limited to foods that wood
keep; potatoes, salted meats, turnips -- but nothing green or
When spring came, everyone welcomed the new vigor they found in
such "magic" plants as spinach, celery, and various "greens."

We now know they were replenishing their supplies of vitamins
(especially) and minerals that were missing from their winter
diets -- but they only knew that by eating certain plants, or
drinking their juices or "wonder elixirs" they felt better!

We also know a healthy patient recovers from most any aliment
better than a frail one -- but in those days, "magic" plants were
sometimes given credit for healing all sorts of things: even
broken bones (boneset)!

In the 18th and 19th centuries (before refrigeration), there was
a thriving trade in HERBS to rejuvenate, cleanse the blood and
cure just about anything.. To this day, the difference between
herbs and species is mainly that spices can be dried for long,
overland camel caravan trips; while herbs are fresh and ready

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These chemicals normally used only by licensed professionals for
things like termite control (where "safe" chemicals would be
ineffective). Many growers use some forms of "soft" pesticides
(Sevin, Diazinon, Pyrenthins and Malathionn that are effective
against pests, but usually not harmful to humans in the plants or
are not eaten within 7 to 10 days after the treatment.

When it comes to chemicals there is one cardinal rule: READ THE

For an outdoor herb garden in areas where small animals,
grasshoppers or too much sun might be a problem, consider
erecting a simple shade house.

Some gardeners combine a green house and shade house by
constructing a simple enclosure of treated wood, painted metal or
plastic, covering it with shade cloth AND 4 to 6 mil plastic for
the greenhouse and pulling the plastic back to reveal the shade
cloth for a shade house.

A quonset frame can be used, or a corral constructed of landscape
timbers spaced 8 feet apart and connected with treated (or
painted) 2 by 4s. Stretch the shade cloth over the frame and
apply the plastic -- there is your combination shade/green house!

Note that within a shade house, you will need a means of

If all else fails, use a water color brush to "tickle" the
flowers every few days. Herbs generally do not need fertilizing.
In most cases, a good compost and a little processed (purified)
manure is fine.

If you need an easy way to apply fertilizers on a large scale,
consider a syphon attachment on your watering hose. Hyponex makes
one that works fine and costs about $10 (retail).

Although it would be worthless as a learning aid for growing
herbs, Culpepper's Complete Herbal (See Bookseller, Sources) is a
copy of a 17th century book outlining the uses and powers of the
various herbs.

This, and others that tell about their "magical" powers are no
longer considered factual, but nonetheless, fascinating -- they
will help create interest in your herbs!

Marketing your herbs profitably is a matter of finding those with
a need (gourmet restaurants and cooks), and coming up with
something that is different and interesting.

Check with small stores, health and gift shops. Ask them to try
your products -- even if it is on consignment. Ordinarily, you
can offer a special introductory price to entice shop keepers to
try them.

Exposure of both your name and herbs is what you are after at
this early stage. Work with a printer to have a display package
to show off your products to their best advantage. A poster with
a tray of products underneath would be a nice window display.

Meanwhile, advertise (radio, cable TV spots, newspaper ads) in
your market area and write some "news release" items for the
local paper to help introduce yourself and your products.

Herbs and their accompanying folklore lend themselves well to
this approach. Of course, your little articles will also mention
where one can get such interesting things!

Put magnetic signs on your car and call on as many retailers and
restaurants as you can to establish a wholesale route.

Leave samples of your best products with the large, gourmet
cooks. When building a route, it is necessary to keep calling on
prospective customers -- even when they haven't bought anything.
This tends to prove your reliability (why buy from an out of town
supplier and pay freight if they can get the same quality

Remember that some retailers have been "burned" is the past by
those who SAY they are reliable. Since very little actual space
and weight is needed for herb delivery, your family car (with
signs, of course) will do nicely as your first delivery van.

Tip: offer a plan to place and periodically replace, live,
growing plants such as basil to restaurants. This will allow them
to advertise that they use fresh herbs!


PENN HERB, 605 N. Second, Philadelphia, PA 19123. Wholesale herb
seeds. Catalog and samples - $1.

JUDE HERBS, Box 563, Huntington Station, New York, NY 11746.
Catalog - $1.

NICHOLS GARDEN NURSERY, 1190 North Pacific Highway, Albany, OR
97321-4598. 503/926-8406. Specializes in herbs and rare seeds;
full line of supplies, mixtures, information on the general
subject of herb gardening.

FOLKLORE HERB CO.,2388 W 4th Ave., Vancouver, BC Canada V61 1P1.
Herb seeds, lk herbs, sanctuary seeds, teas, oils, etc. Free

BOTANIC GARDEN SEED CO, 9 Wyckoff St., Brooklyn, NY 11201.
Wholesale herb and wildflower seeds.

BEAR MEADOW FARM, 23 Wall St., North Adams, MA 01247. Herbs,
health foods and related supplies.