By the end of the summer, most of our flower beds and gardens have dried like a grape found under a car seat. I myself moved to a new home in June and haven’t yet had time to establish a garden–an herb garden, specifically–in our new back yard. Because I often cook with herbs, not having access to any has forced me to purchase “fresh” ones from the store. Fresh meaning: ‘grown in Canada.’
So, in attempt to flavor my cooking without planting an entire garden, I started a small herb bed in a very large pot. Hopefully, I will have a garden planted next Spring, however, I believe I may do this very thing every fall for two reasons:
1.) By the end of the infamous Texas summer complete with stage 3 drought water restrictions, the few plants which typically remain (at least in my garden) lack something to be desired. New, fresh herbs each fall are probably a good idea.
2.) I think having a portable herb bed will be smart once the weather turns very cold. It will be simple to move in and out of the garage during a freeze, or closer to the kitchen door if I don’t want to bundle up every time Rosemary is needed.
Most nurseries don’t have many herbs left this time of year, however I was able to find those I use most often in cooking: Rosemary, Thyme and Sage. Sadie gave me a small basil plant she grew from some seeds I brought back last year from Italy, as well as some Chives from her own herb bed.
We filled a wide bowl-like pot with soil and arranged the herbs with Rosemary in the middle because it will grow the tallest. Make sure if the roots are compacted–if they are in the shape of the container–break them apart before planting. Sadie noticed the Thyme looked a little anemic and we added nitrogen and iron rich plant food to help the yellowish leaves turn green again. Because these are young herbs, they will need sunlight, but not too much of this extreme heat; I am placing them beneath a lattice-covered patio directly outside my kitchen door. I also added little signs to the pot to help me remember which herb is which…I actually already know, but the signs are too charming not to include.
It is also important to read up on care instructions for each herb. My black thumb has killed many plants and flowers as a result of not doing this very thing. Basil, for example, loves water, so I will need to water it more often than the others. See other herb tips below.
It felt good to be outside and work in Sadie’s Potting Shed after a summer full of unpacking moving boxes. It only took about ten minutes to create, and I was bummed I forgot to bring the cute gardening gloves and tools to use that Sadie gave me for my birthday in July. Hopefully as the seasons change, I can be in the potting shed more often.
Ciao for now–Lauren
|BASIL||Square stems, toothed leave; reach 18″ high; fresh, clove-like scent||After last frost||Full sun||Caprese salad||*HMW, mulch in the winter, harvest before flowers bloom||freeze in ice cube tray|
|CHIVES||Clustered bulb with a single stem with long thin leaves; 10″-12″ tall; mild onion scent/flavor||Mid-late Spring||Full sun/ Part shade||Baked potato||*LMW, remove flowers to prevent self-sowing||Freeze in ice cube tray|
|ROSEMARY||Woody-stemmed plant with needle-like leaves; reach 3′ tall; evergreen; earthy, piney scent||Spring||Full sun||Lamb||LMW, prune thick woody stems, don’t like cold temps||Tie sprigs together and hang upside down to dry in well-ventilated warm area|
|SAGE||Gray-green textured leaves; reach 12″-30″ tall; woodsy/herbal scent||Early Spring||Full sun||Thanksgiving stuffing||LMW in well drained soil, quality drops off every 4-5 years so start over at that point||Tie Springs together and hang upside down to dry in well-ventilated, warm area|
|THYME||Tiny, oval shaped leaves with creeping stems; low growing but will reach 6″-10″ in height; fragrance depends on species but is relatively mild and earthy||Spring||Full sun||Oven roasted chicken||LMW, creeps in between rocks and cracks, hardy in most weather conditions||Tie sprigs together and hang upside down to dry in well-ventilated, warm area|
*LMW-Low maintenance water
*HMW-High maintenance water