Food & Drink
FOOD: Beginning of a Summer Herb Garden — Recipe Basics
by Laurette Cidonnie Green
I live in an apartment. I have done so for most of my adult life with the exception of a couple years in graduate school when I rented a house. However, having grown up in a house with a yard, I always yearn to grow things. My grandfather had a large vegetable garden and used to bring us tomatoes and peppers and squash and green beans and melons every Saturday morning all summer long when we lived in Virginia. I like growing things. Especially things to eat. Even with limited outdoor space.
As our hopefully final cold snap has ended, I have decided to use my porch to grow herbs and maybe a few vegetables in pots. Herbs and maybe a few vegetables in pots. Herbs are also grown in window sills so, if you don’t have outdoor space, not to worry as long as some part of your house has access to sunlight.
My thumb—despite the fact that I have successfully grown beans, tomatoes, and an assortment of peppers—is much closer to yellow than green when it comes to gardening. I think mostly because I forget to water things frequently enough. However, we shall see whether I can manage to keep all of my herbs alive for the variety of recipes I plan to use them for over the course of the summer.
So with this, I will begin a series of easy summer recipes featuring things that are growing out of my potted garden.
I stumbled upon Nall’s Produce, Inc. by accident about two weeks after I moved to this area. Located in Franconia, it is a perfect place for picking up produce, plants, and garden supplies. And if you have a need to hear a rooster crow, you can get that about every 45 seconds. It’s a quick dose of farm not that far from the city.
Last week, I purchased mint, oregano, basil, lemon thyme, and some Cubanelle peppers. Today, I went back and purchased some tri-colored sage and lemon grass. While not everything I could want for cooking, definitely enough to build a pretty firm base of summer recipes around. And compared to the cost of herbs going bad in my refrigerator from the grocery store, quite a savings. My plants each cost about the same ($3.49) as a fresh pack of the same herb at my grocer.
So, I took my pot, and placed some good sized stones at the bottom. Then mixing my two potting soils placed some—about four inches deep—on top of the stones. Removing the plants from their containers I broke the root system apart. It can get compacted in the small containers and needs to be gently pulled apart to give the roots access to water and air. Making a small hole for each, I placed them in the pot and then added more soil on top. Watered thoroughly and allowed to drain, I then placed it outside.
Now to let the sunlight, some watering, and the use of my hands, even in the city, allow me to harvest and use my herb garden.