Growing Your Own Herbs
Many herbs are very easy to grow. Soapmaking favorites such as lavender, calendula, and peppermint can easily be grown in small containers in a window. If you have a garden, the addition of even a small number of herbs for soap greatly enriches your soapmaking. Some soapers have herb gardens dedicated just to soap herbs.
If you are an avid gardener, there is virtually no limit to the kinds of herbs you can grow. If you are limited by time, inexperience, or other factors, select just a few. The herbs that follow are very useful in soapmaking and generally very easy to grow.
Calendula grows best in full sun in well-drained soil. It is vigorous and a beautiful addition to your garden. It is, however, susceptible to a plant disease called powdery mildew, so keep an eye on it. You can make a good anti-powdery mildew spray out of grated soap dissolved in water with borax powder added to it.
Comfrey is a vigorous grower that will take over your garden if given a chance. Keep it confined to a pot or give it a corner of its own where it can run wild. Harvest and dry the leaves as you trim the vigorously growing plant.
Lavender brings fragrance and beauty to all gardens. There are so many kinds of lavenders, you can find one that goes with any gardening style. Munstead lavender is a small plant, and it is extremely fragrant. The little flowers grow outside on the heads and are easily used for sachets after drying.
Lavender needs rich, well-drained soil. Don't let their roots stay wet! An addition of sand and calcium-rich nutrients to the soil makes lavender plants very happy.
Peppermint and spearmint are easy to grow, and like comfrey, will take over your garden. They send out runners, so keep them corralled in pots or give them room. Trim plants back frequently to encourage bushy growth and dry the leaves.
Rosemary is said to grow well in a garden where a woman is in charge. Prostrate rosemary has soft stems and grows in a beautiful trailing form. The leaves are needle-like and can be very “poky” in soap, so be sure to finely chop the dried leaves.