Sunday, March 29, 2009

Herb Garden

Brittan and I planted our herb garden yesterday. We decided to make it an inside 'kitchen garden', meaning, the majority of herbs will be grown in a space in our kitchen. We took a couple of the grow lights from the basement and put them up under one of our cabinets. We went to the Kingdom of Wal-Mart and bought some colorful pots, then went to work planting our seeds. Because we wanted something bright to add visual interest, we paid a little more for the pots than we normally would. There are quite a few herb sized plastic pots (6 to 8 inch) that can be obtained for less than $5. Another great option is to cut milk jugs to the size you want, or to use things like sour cream or cottage cheese containers. Simply poke some drainage holes in the bottom, place a saucer or something under them to catch any water that drains out, and away you go.

Even with spending a little extra for colorful pots, we were able to plant 10 different herbs under grow lights for less money than growing 7 herbs in one of those fancy 'aero garden' thingys.

Don't misunderstand, I don't hate the 'aero garden'. I'd have one in a minute. They are excellent space savers and produce great results. I'm just into saving money. An outside herb garden would have been less expensive still and could be used to add visual interest via a window box or an herb patch near the house. Our rosemary, for example, is planted in an urn and looks like a little tree. We keep it on the front porch during warm months and move it inside to the entry area during the winter. I will put one of my chive pots outside and let it go to flower later this summer. I happen to think chive flowers are pretty.

Finally, our seeds and soil together cost us around $18. We will have visual interest and a tasty harvest all season (including drying some herbs for the winter) for far less cost than buying fresh or dried at the market. Another side benefit, Brittan and I spent a delightful day doing something fun together.

Let me finish with an important safety tip. Last year our herb garden failed miserably because we over watered them. Most herbs, except chives, aren't all that demanding. And cilantro pretty much hates water. Do you homework first. Have fun, eat well, save money.