Thursday, July 3, 2008

And now we wait

There have been so many things I thought I could never do:
  1. making jam/canning (check - no problemo)
  2. baking bread (check - easy cheesey, dude)
  3. making yogurt (check - nothing to it)
  4. grow my own food (nope - now, here's where we need some work)
Dave and I have been talking about starting our own garden for almost a year. Hopefully this summer, we'll get a couple raised beds built and rehabilitate our compost pile (a.k.a. the hill - we throw scraps on it, but haven't turned it in the three years I've lived here. Oops!). The idea being that if we can get those things done this summer, we can start our veggie garden in the spring (actually, more like February here in Texas). Who knows, maybe we'll even plant a couple fruit trees (Mmmm - fruit).

Back in April, as initial test to my growing/killing ability, I bought my first mint plant at the farmers market. I use mint on a daily basis in my herbal (mint and sage) tea so it seemed like a good idea (no one had sage or I would have bought one of those, too). After two months, I haven't managed to kill it (yes!) but I still continue to buy lots of herbs at the farmers market - sage, oregano, parsley, and basil mostly. So while we were running errands last weekend at the hardware store, I decided it was time to take the plunge - I bought a pack of each herb. Let's do this!

At home, I pulled out the tiny plastic containers I had been saving for... well, I was going to use them for... Ok, I just couldn't bear to pitch them so now I'm going to use them for growing my seeds! I also cut down some of the cream and half-n-half containers we used to make ice cream (why not, better than throwing them away, right?). Just waiting for this very moment was a small bag of compost we picked up at this year's local Earth Day celebration. So I carefully put together a little compost, a bit of water, a couple teeny, tiny seeds, and then just a tad more compost to top them off. That's my setup there in the photo.

I marked each container with the name of the herb (I made 1 parsley, 1 oregano, 2 sage, and 1 basil) and placed them on the window sill in the kitchen. It seems to be a nice sunny, indoor spot. It's not completely kitty proof, but it's about as close as we can get. 

Ok. That didn't take much time. This is easy, right? Just like the other things I've tried. I can totally do this.  

And now we wait...


eco 'burban mom said...

Sage is so easy to grow. I tried it for the first time this year and it's overtaking the thyme and rosemary it's shares a container with. That's alright I guess, we use a lot of sage on potatoes, so I guess it means we get to eat more of them!! :o) Good luck, I am sure you do great! I am pretty sure baking bagels is much harder than growing sage!

maryann said...

Good luck with the herbs. I planted some sage seeds last year in the garden and this year they are the size of small shrubs. In the spring they get pretty blue flowers the bees just love. Basil and oregano I've been able to grow no problem, parsley seems to be a little fussier but I can still get it to grow. There is nothing like fresh herbs. Chives are another that are super easy to grow that you might want to try.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

You are doing so well! You should be very proud of how far you've come.

I hope your herbs grow well, and hope you guys do get a garden going in the spring. Gardening is such a fun and rewarding activity. And I must be honest, I am quite jealous of the longer growing season you folks in Texas get to enjoy!

Wendy said...

I love growing herbs. They're super easy, and many of them are perennials, which means you can put them right in the ground, and as hard as you try to kill them, they keep coming back. It's that way with the mint I planted a billion years ago ... and the oregano that's going nuts in my back yard :).

Have fun with your garden, and don't be afraid to plant things that like cold weather (like most "cole" plants and things like peas and lettuce) in the late fall or late winter. If you can turn the soil, you should plant something (peas, beets, lettuces, etc). I made the mistake of planting everything at the same time, and while some things did well, other things never grew. I finally figured it out, but it took me a long time ;).

Green Bean said...

You can totally do this! Besides, some herbs are like weeds. You almost can't kill them. Almost.

Jenelle said...

Not being rude, I've seen alot of new gardeners forget this - did you put holes in the bottom of the plastic containers? I've not grown anything from seed, but I'd think it was the same as for regular plants. ;-)

Theresa said...

Oh ya, those'll grow! Good for you!

Also, about your bigger garden for next year -- I got all hung up on having raised beds and it turned out my soil was pretty good already. It doesn't hurt to just fling some seeds in the soil you have and see what happens - I'm amazed at what will grow given half a chance! Kale is especially amazing - it seems to grow whether it's hot, cold, dry or soggy. And I put some half-rotten seed potatoes (I bought them too early) into a pile of mostly sandy, weedy, charcoaly, woody stuff and the potatoes are growing! I'm constantly amazed at the miracle of seed, sun and water. :)

CFM said...

I wouldn't wait till spring for your garden if I was you!!! Fall and winter are some of the best times to garden in B/CS. If you need any tips or pointers both Vicki and I would be happy to help.

However, given your success at canning, baking, etc I am sure you will do GREAT.

Some homemade ice cream would go a long way in trade.......for those secret tips to get the first head of broccoli of the fall.

Enjoy getting your hands dirty!! I know I am looking forward to being home this weekend to get back to working the soil out at the farm!!!

Heather @ SGF said...

eco 'burban mom - I don't know. The bagel are pretty easy. I've never grown anything from seed before. But I noticed a super teeny tiny leaf in the container with the basil seeds. Yes! There is hope for me yet!

maryann - ooh! The blue flowers sound really pretty! I can hardly wait to watch my new "babies" grow!

jennifer - we do have a wonderful growing season here. It seems like no matter what the time of year, you can have something growing. It's fabulous!

wendy - I love peas! That will definitely be something we end up growing. We just couldn't get enough of them this spring!

green bean - I certainly hope so. I'm thinking the herbs will be good practice for the bigger garden.

jenelle - no, I didn't do this. Does anyone know if this is a must for seedlings? I'm planning on transplanting to a larger container (with holes in the bottom) once they grow a bit. Feedback?

theresa - our ground is pretty bad - it's all clay 4-5 inches down. We just need to actually do it (prepare raised beds). Maybe we should set a deadline to get our booties into action. :)

ib mommy said...

Hi! I just wanted to say it's super easy to start those seeds outside instead of messing with all those little containers. Those are best for starting them inside before temps outside are adequate for growth. Have patience with the parsley, it takes quite a while. Also, if you like rosemary, and I know some people don't, you can just snip off the top couple inches of a stem, score it and pop it in some soil. It should root just like that! And, I surely would trade you a hunk of my basil for one o' them there bagels.

Heather @ SGF said...

CFM - Hmmm. I think we can work something out on that barter you suggest :)

ib mommy - Thanks for the great tips! And I see I have another offer to barter. I sooooo wish I lived closer to all of you!

Beany said...

Good luck! I've grown basil to date because its the one herb we use a lot of and that turned out to be really easy (didn't even need much sun).

That would be so cool if you could grow your tea ingredients...then it would be almost free!

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - so far, I have a teeny tiny seedling in the basil and an even teensier one in the oregano. I'm so excited!