Now that the weather is warming up, my thoughts are turning to summer. I dream of long days, lazy afternoons in the hammock, and fresh summer cooking. One of the things I appreciate most about the warmer months is the enjoyment I get from cooking with fresh homegrown herbs. Unfortunately, neither Alex nor I have much of a green thumb, but last summer we tried our hand at taking our gardening prowess to the next level by building a raised bed and square foor garden for organic vegetables.
The garden project resulted in limited success (what we thought was broccoli turned out to be cabbage, and our spinach and beets were a total flop), but the herbs I planted in nearby pots were off the charts.
Excited by the success of our previous year's venture, I set out last weekend to begin making my herb purchases for the season. I went to our local home improvement store and was somewhat underwhelmed with their selection. My frustration was largely my own fault due to the one item I had my heart set on that we don't have room for. Any guesses...? Why a fig tree of course!
If only we had the space, I would love to have a fig tree in my yard. I know there are some others around Old Town, but you need at least 20 feet of space for it to grow properly. I guess I'll have to save that dream for the day we're living in Napa Valley. (I'm dreaming here, after all!)
Once I snapped back to reality, and the reality of our very modestly sized outdoor space, I got serious about what herbs would make the cut this year.
Some of the choices were easy and were based on items that we've had success with in previous years, like basil and parsley. While others were out of usefulness since I've noticed how much they'll help out in recipes that we tend to enjoy.
The end result of my shopping trip was:
- Sweet basil
- Flat leaf Italian parsley
Add this to the sage, rosemary, mint, and chives that came back from last year, and I felt I had a pretty good starting point. I planted the new herbs in my ceramic garden pots with a generous helping of organic potting soil and water. Grow baby, grow!
Remember these photos when we hopefully show you to towering trees of herbs in a few weeks... fingers crossed.
I made sure to evenly space the plantings and allow plenty of room for them to grow. After our very successful herbs last year, I think the adequate room for them to breathe, along with the deep soil in the pots, is extremely important in their overall success.
Have you started planting this year or are you still in the planning phases? Do you have a great recipe I should try out that would incorporate any of my new bounty? I don't know about you, but I see a lot of pasta salads with fresh herbs in my future this summer!