Create a Sprawling Garden: How to Grow Herbs Indoors

Nothing beats homemade cooking flavored with freshly picked herbs from your own garden. For a convenient way to add culinary flair to your dishes, grow your herbs indoors. Tree Classics’ Create a Sprawling Garden series gives you practical advice on herb gardening to bring freshness straight to your plate!

Choosing a Method

There are different ways you can jumpstart your indoor garden. One of them is by using a hydroponic system. Not only does this soilless method provide your plants with everything they need; it also allows you to set up your garden anywhere in the house. To start, purchase a hydroponic kit, which comes with equipment, special lights, and mineral nutrient solutions that will nourish your plants and stimulate their growth in a safe environment.

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You can either plant a seed or root a cutting. Herbs like sage, oregano, and rosemary are best prepped for indoor cultivation. Plant a section of their root or stem in a soilless mix. Meanwhile, basil and parsley need to be planted as seeds, although the latter, as well as chives, can also be planted by potting a clump from an existing outdoor plant.

If you have a kitchen window facing either south or east, make the most of it by creating a windowsill herb garden. Bay leaf tree, oregano, rosemary, and most mints are just some of the herbs that are easy to raise on a windowsill. South-facing windows provide your plant with the most sunlight while east-facing ones give you a moderate amount of light (mostly in the morning). Different herbs have varying needs for sunshine, so make sure to find out how much light your herbs require.

Transitioning Indoors

If you are moving an existing outdoor herb garden indoors to prepare for winter, you will need to acclimatize the plants to their new environment first. Gradually introduce them to shaded areas. Instead of directly putting them inside the house, park them in an enclosed porch, an entryway, or a garage. When they have gotten used to it, you can move them to the window where they can receive the most sunshine.

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Achieving a Balance of Elements

Know how to balance light, temperature, and water. For example, herbs in a clay pot placed on a south -facing windowsill may need more water than plants on an east or west window. Every week, turn each pot around for about a quarter to expose all of the sides of the plant to sunlight. During winter, the air inside your home tends to get dry, especially with artificial heating. Dry air may affect your indoor plants’ growth. As a remedy, spray mist around your plants to keep them from getting brown leaves due to low humidity.


Your herbs will stay healthy if you fertilize them, but too much of it may keep them from producing the best flavor. Nourish them with fertilizer only once a month, or mix a slow-release plant food into the soil before planting your cuttings or seeds.

Grow your indoor herb garden now and make your meals even more flavorful and special!

Celebrating with Tree Classics: 12 Ways to Christmas in July

If you’re eager to celebrate the holiday season with the exuberance of summer, then you’ll love our ideas for Christmas in July! What better way to cherish all the wonderful memories with friends and family than with a get-together that also lets you soak up the sun. Get ready for some midyear cheer. Fluff your Christmas tree, serve up some eggnog, and kick-start the merrymaking with Tree Classics’ 12 ways to Christmas in July!

12 Ways to Christmas in July

Tree Classics Christmas in July: 5 Simple Ways to Spread Cheer

Christmas has always been a season of giving. Whether you’re handing out gifts at an orphanage or helping out at a local soup kitchen, you know there is nothing more satisfying than being able to make other people happy. Celebrating Christmas in July allows you to continue spreading the joy of the holidays. Join Tree Classics as we list down ways you can turn your Christmas good deed into a year-long tradition.

1. Hold Storytelling Sessions with Kids

Photo from LibAmanda via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Reading is a great way for kids to enrich their imagination. There is a tale of adventure and awe locked inside every page of a good book. But reading can be very difficult for a child who has dyslexia or is visually challenged. Remove this obstacle by lending your voice in an audiobook production and holding a storytelling session with kids.

By using well-loved storybooks and textbooks that have been transformed into electronic recordings, children with learning disabilities can enjoy the lessons that these wonderful literary treasures have to offer. Visit Learning Ally to find out how you can sign up as a volunteer reader.

2. Visit Homes for the Elderly

Photo from ryanrocketship via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Time has a way of making us forget the things that really matter. We won’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the people who came before us. Let’s not wait until the Christmas season to check up on Grandpa and Grandma and make them feel appreciated. Drop by your grandparents’ house or your local elderly home and bring back their smiles. You can share a meal, tell stories, and even play fun games with them. Check out organizations such as Little Brothers to learn more about how you can help bring cheer into the lives of our beloved elderly.

3. Become a Red Cross Volunteer

First Aid
Photo from Fort Meade via flickr. CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a long-term commitment helping out, you can never go wrong with the American Red Cross. Always ready to help where there is a disaster, the organization has come to symbolize solidarity and care. For decades, it has given aid to those situated in the most dangerous corners of the world. The Red Cross has diversified its volunteer work into different functions. Aside from helping in disaster relief efforts, you can also be a volunteer at blood drives, become a health and safety instructor, or even a social media advocate.

4. Rescue Animals with Your Neighbors

Animal Rescue
Photo from Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Animals have the right to be safe. Sadly, not everybody is aware of this fact. We often find pets neglected or mistreated by their owners. Groups such as Sanctuary One and The Humane Society of the United States try their best to care for these poor critters, but they also need the help of other animal lovers. Sign up for their programs such as rescuing and protecting these pets from cruelty and providing them a loving home.

5. Build Homes for the Homeless

Photo from Rob Swystun via flickr. CC BY 2.0

And, yes, there is no place like home. This has always driven the volunteers of Habitat for Humanity. They have dedicated their time and energy to providing homeless people everywhere a shelter where they can be safe and warm. You can join hands with family and friends and turn home-building activities into a time for bonding. With every brick you lay and every beam you hammer into place, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped create a better tomorrow for your fellow.

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to spread holiday cheer. Now is as good a time as any other.

Tree Classics Favorite Recipes: 7 Delicious Smoothies that Detoxify

Summer inspires people to get healthy. Just think of all the luscious fruits and mouthwatering veggies bursting with color and flavor! They’re not only tasty. They also cleanse your body. But if you’re looking for something other than your usual summer salad, you can switch things up. Count on these thirst-quenching smoothies that also work as a complete meal, light snack, or summer drink that takes all your worries away.

Summer Smoothies
Photo from Andrew Michaels via flickr. CC BY 2.0

1. Carrot, Mango, and Herb Smoothie

Sip your way to good health with this carrot, mango, and herb smoothie. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin A, which promote good eye health and slow down the aging of cells. The falcarinol and falcarindiol in carrots also reduce the risk of lung, breast, and colon cancers. Meanwhile, mangoes prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, promote good eyesight and help alkalize the body. The fusion of mint, tarragon, and basil helps with its digestive and anti-oxidant properties.

Enjoy these amazing benefits with the carrot, mango, and herb smoothie by Whole Living. Combine two cups of frozen mango chunks, one cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, one cup of fresh carrot juice, 1/4 cup of fresh herbs, such as mint, tarragon, or basil, and blend until smooth. Super easy!

2. Avocado-Apple Smoothie

Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats that help the body absorb vitamins A and E important for maintaining the smoothness of skin. This fleshy green-skinned fruit can also lower cholesterol, fight eye disease, and prevent oral, breast, and prostate cancers. Anti-oxidant and fiber-enriched apples, meanwhile, fight the effects of aging on the brain, providing protection against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Make the avocado-apple smoothie from Incredible Smoothies by blending together one green apple, 1/2 avocado, one tablespoon of lime juice, and 1/2 to one cup of water. This is one yummy anti-aging recipe that you’ll never get out of your mind!

Continue reading “Tree Classics Favorite Recipes: 7 Delicious Smoothies that Detoxify”

Tree Classics Christmas in July: Tips for Caring for Your Christmas Tree

After six months of stashing away your Christmas tree in the attic or basement, it’s time once again to take it out for some much-deserved cleaning and fluffing and celebrate Christmas in July. To help you along, Tree Classics runs down basic steps as you display your beloved tree this summer.

Tree Classics Christmas Tree
Photo from wolfsavard via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Dust off the Tree

Just like any item stored in a box for months, your Christmas tree may have accumulated dust – and dust often sticks deep within the bristles and branches. Cleaning it can get frustrating. To make things easier, you can either use a handy vacuum or go old school with a whisk broom.

  • Vacuums can be used on newer and sturdier trees. When using one to clean your Christmas tree, make sure that the vacuum is not too powerful for it. Attach an upholstery bristle to your vacuum and test it out first on the base of the tree. If your tree can handle it, go ahead and proceed with the vacuuming. Once you get to the needles and branches, keep the vacuum about an inch away from the tree so that it won’t suck in the foliage.
  • When dusting old and delicate Christmas trees, it is better to use a soft whisk broom. Carefully brush the dust off the tree, paying close attention to the branches and needles. You can also use a damp rag for a more meticulous cleaning of the foliage.
  • For the trunk and larger branches, a bucket of warm water and some mild dish soap will do the trick. Soak a rag in the bucket and start wiping the tree. You can also use shampoo.
  • For pre-lit Christmas trees, avoid using any liquid cleaner to prevent short-circuits.

Check the Detailing

Once you’re through getting rid of all that muck from your tree, the next thing to do is to check all of its parts. Sometimes in our haste to store our tree right after Christmas, we tend to leave out some of its pieces.  We wouldn’t know until the next season when we’re about to take it out again.

  • Familiarize yourself with each part of your Christmas tree when setting it up and disassembling it. Also, keep the manual for the tree handy to have a complete list of its pieces.
  • When working on a pre-lit Christmas tree, double check it for loose connections or busted bulbs before plugging it in.

Ask Help Early

If you find that some parts are missing or that there are damages to your Christmas tree, you should notify your tree company’s customer service right away for parts replacements or appropriate repairs. Inspecting your tree’s condition as early as July will save you from further troubles during the busy holiday season.

More than just being a mere summer holiday, Christmas in July is a convenient reminder of how to properly take care of your beloved Christmas tree. Add this to your family tradition and you can be sure of a happy and stress-free yuletide season.