Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Herb Garden

Living in an apartment, I didn’t have the space for an all-out garden – I didn’t even have a balcony where I can make a container garden. I did, however, have a LOT of counter space in my kitchen, especially behind my sink, where I had a good foot of space between my sink and my window. I took good advantage of this counter space over the first few years living in that appartment, but my favourite use of it, because of the amount of sunlight I got, was for my little herb garden.

I will admit that this was my first foray into real gardening – other than the occasional potted plant, I hadn’t really had any real desire to take care of plants before. But herb gardens, as I see it, are extremely multi-purpose. Not only did they add a bit of life and colour to my stark white kitchen, but I can use the plants for cooking as well, and as cooking is one of my favourite things to do, that was the main attraction to starting an herb garden.

I have discovered that herb gardening is extremely easy to do. My plants require very little maintenance - really only to be watered when the soil gets dry. How much I water my herb garden varies depending on the time of the year – last summer I found I had to water them once every couple of days, but during the winter I only had to water them about once a week. I use fertilizer in the water every once in a while, and this helps the plants to grow better, but other than watering and fertilizer, I don’t really have to do much to maintain my herb garden.

As far as what I grew, oregano, rosemary and thyme were always my favourites, and although I had thought about expanding my herb garden to include basil, I never really ended up doing so. I bought some of the herbs from nurseries to plant, and I’ve also grown some of my own from seeds – obviously, buying herbs from nurseries is a lot easier than attempting to grown your own from seeds. You don’t have to wait for the seeds to germinate, and you can start enjoying the plant almost immediately. As far as planting seeds goes, I’ve had mixed results. Half the time it works wonderfully – my oregano grew from seeds I planted, and it is extremely gratifying to know that I grew it all on my own. On the other hand, a couple other times I’ve tried to grow thyme from seeds, and for some reason that never worked well for me. I could never keep them alive, in the odd chance that they actually DID germinate, which was very frustrating. I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong, or what, but I ended up buying some already-grown thyme at a garden centre and just planting that instead of attempting the seeds for a fourth time. If I had decide to expand my garden to include basil as well, I think I would definitely be buying a plant from a nursery or garden center.

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