Friday, February 20, 2009

Herb Garden

Dontcha just itch for springtime?! I know I do.

So as I anxiously await for the warmer season ahead (and for celebrities to stop trying to bring back super-high waisted pants - it's over people, they don't look good on anyone with a normal BMI!!!) I decided to turn my brown thumb green. And if a little determination and a whole lotta dead plants can make me into a gardener, well, I am up for it.

I have been saving my empty egg cartons for about a year...yes, I have packrat tendencies...and yes I have many more not pictured. They are the perfect size to make into your own seed tray. And you'll save a bundle - yay for no money! Pack each egg-noogie with a little potting soil. Then stick your fingertip in there to make the seed hole however deep your seed calls for. Mine was only supposed to be 1/4 inch deep. So no deeper than half my finger nail. Then I threw in a few seeds. Cover, water, and wait. Since my seedlings were going to be living indoors and get watered frequently, I didn't go to the extreme of covering the suckers with saran wrap...but if you wanna go that extra mile, more Bower Power to ya.

I chose Mint, Rosemary, and Basil seeds to begin. But now I am eager to get back to the store to snag a few packets of Parsley, Thyme and Cilantro. Once they are 2 inches tall, I will transplant them to real pots. My own herb container garden will thrive live be located on the back deck. Herbs can actually add a really lovely fragrance to the area as well - which is a major bonus since my boyfriend's nose is like a tracking dogs'. Who knew that a few seed packets could help make our deck time more enjoyable?!

Plus these wee plants will actually save me money. I hear that spending $100 on seeds and soil can save you $500-$700 on buying the fresh goodies at the supermarket. That's a new pair of Manolo's! Over the years, that can add up to a hefty sum...if you like to use fresh greens. And since nowadays I am actually USING fresh herbs in the kitchen, it is just another reason to grow em at home.

And if you are still on the fence about planting some of your own - I have one word for you...mojitos. just kidding. But seriously, there are tons of easy ways to use the 6 herbs that I have listed - and here are a few of my suggestions:

MINT - mint lemonade, mint tea, smoothies
ROSEMARY - rosemary chicken, rosemary potatoes, rosemary in stew
BASIL - tomato sauce, pesto, garnish on bruschetta
PARSLEY - flavoring stews, garnish foods, marinade for steak
THYME - garlic thyme butter, rub on roasts, add to eggs
CILANTRO - salsa, chutney, guacamole

And all you parents of potheads - switch the kids stash for some dried oregano - I promise that weed won't be as attractive afterwards. The saying should be revised to this - GIVE hugs OREGANO, NOT DRUGS :) I'm not a parent but your teen + an italian seasonings joint = motherly joy. Maybe it won't break the mary-jane habit, but it will give them a coughing fit they soon won't forget. When I am a parent, I hope to never have to use this anti-drug method...but you can bet your bottom dollar I ain't above it. I am also not above bribery, coercion, guilt-trips and threats of embarrassment.

Now for the two-week update: Yup - sprouting has occured!

We have liftoff!!! I can practically taste the spaghetti sauce already! No, not really - but I am super excited that it worked! I mean, who wooda thunk? Maybe a farmer...or a horticulturist...or a gardner...but not anyone that knows me! And if I can do, you can do it better. So go get em tiger...plant an herb garden and call it spring!

Question of the day - What herbs do you love and whatya use em for?


mrs.leah.maria said...

This post makes me sad. I think I'll be too busy this year for all of the planting I normally do. :(

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, fun. DH and I did this last year, but came up with dismal results. Starting those suckers from seeds was above our expertise level, LOL. This year, we'll be heading to our local nursery to grab the already sprouted herbs and veggies and planting them in the backyard!

Heidi said...

Look at you and your green thumb. The weather is far too cold where I live to even be thinking about seedlings. Good luck to you!!!

Lindsay said...

ohhhh I want spring already!! Good luck with your herbs!

Mrs. 5C said...

I'm so impressed!
I tried to sprout basil last year from seed and it grew, but ended up rotting. I do ok with grown up plants but I tend to "over love" seedlings.

USANDCO said...

I love, love ,luuuurve me some basil and cilantro. I had a massive Basil plant that I used pretty much everyday.... until I killed it. Actually a gigantic slug killed it. Watch out for those suckers. Good luck to you and your thumb. =)

Freckles Chick said...

Can I go herb-pickin' in Bower Power's House of Herbs? I'm salivating at the potential dishes you can use them for.

I tried growing basil and cilantro last year in terra cotta pots on our kitchen window sill. The cilantro didn't turn out so well but the basil was perfecto. Everyday i was like, grow dammit grow.

Kelli said...

I've never grown herbs before but this looks pretty simple that maybe even I can do it. I love cilantro because I love Mexican food. I also love basil and use it often for my lasagna.

Centsational Girl said...

You are so together. Thanks for reminding me to start my seedlings. I grow tons of basil, cilantro, and heirloom tomatoes and cook will them all summer.

Centsational Girl said...

... "with" them all summer.

Kim said...

Oooo.... I'm totally impressed. Like most of my projects, this is something that I keep reading about and researching, but have yet to do anything about. I have a plan to plant herbs and basic veggies in window boxes this year. I am, however, running out of time to plant them.

Did you put yours in a window? I don't have many windows with good sunlight...

We use parsley and cilantro all the time. I know I would save some cashola by planting them. I also chop them and freeze them for fresh herbs later.