Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My new babies

We finally did it! We finally started our little herb garden! On Monday we picked up a few herbs that we knew we really wanted and then we headed over to Capitol Iron to pick up some planters. Sorry, I completely forgot where we had picked up our little seedlings. We didn't get everything we wanted on our list, we wanted to start out small and see how it goes before we went all out. Not to mention we wanted to make sure that we had enough room on our small balcony/patio (to me, they are the same thing). I'm trying to convince Brett that we have plenty of room, and if need be we can always build some sort of shelving to house our green babies. I'm also trying to convince him that we should take advantage of the wee one's balcony (yes, our 8 month old son has a little balcony attached to his bedroom...why does a baby need his own balcony?? So weird). As practical and convenient it is to have all our edible plants located right outside our kitchen, I think there would be no harm in putting the yet-to-ripen and yet-to-sprout-anything plants in the upstairs balcony. To me, this seems reasonable.

Anyhoo, above is the before I re-potted the herbs into the planter shot. Brett and I couldn't decide which herb should be where, so we had to "plan" what each planter should look like. On the far left there are 2 chive sprouts. We weren't sure how fast they grew back, and with the amount of potatoes that Brett eats, we figured it wouldn't hurt to get 2. Just in case. In the middle of the photo there's some Delfino cilantro. The place had run out of regular cilantro so we settled for the Delfino. On the right is sage. I don't really cook with sage, and I can't recall when Brett has either, so we'll see how the sage plant works out for us.

The place we went to also ran out of regular thyme, so instead we picked up the lemon thyme (the last plant on the right). While I was re-potting everything all I could smell the entire time was the yumminess of the lemon thyme. It's so sweet and, well, lemony. Brett was curious as to how it would taste mixed with everyday foods, so that night he used some in the roasted potatoes. I'd have to say that I'm glad that the regular thyme was sold out cause this stuff is so dee-lish!!

You can't see it in the above photo, but there's a little stubby herb behind the lemon thyme. I can't remember what it's called cause the sign for it fell off on the way home, but Brett picked it out after shoving a leaf in his mouth at the store. It reminds me of an aloe or a cactus, cause the leaves are thick and according to Brett, "juicy". You also can't see them, but we bought a few sprigs of "creeping" rosemary. At first we weren't going to buy rosemary, since our last landlord had insisted that we stop by whenever we needed some as her backyard is full of more rosemary than she knows what to do with. But at a dollar, we couldn't resist.

Brett and I both wanted parsley. But we both wanted a different kind of parsley. I wanted flat-leaf Italian, and Brett wanted curly. After a few minutes of trying to persuade each other which parsley to get, we gave in and just got one of each.

And of course we got some basil!! It's the whole reason why I wanted to start up a herb garden in the first place! I never knew there were so many different kinds of basil until I did some research on it. My plan was to have a whole planter dedicated to nothing but basil. Unfortunately, that was not Brett's plan. We compromised and I ended up leaving with 2 basil plants that have to share a planter with the parsley. The place we went to only had 2 types of basil, but I walked away with the one I wanted anyways, which is the Italian large-leaf variety. I had also wanted the sweet basil, but I'm not sure what the difference is between the two. All I know is that I'm heading to the grocery store sometime today to pick up some bocconcini, cherry tomatoes, and a new bottle of balsamic vinegar. I wish I could find fresh mozzarella, the kind that is stored in water in a plastic bag, at a reasonable price. I haven't been able to buy fresh mozza since I lived in Europe. So sad.

Speaking of cherry tomatoes, after rushing home and re-potting all the herbs in their new homes, I had confessed to Brett that I would love to try my hand at growing my own cherry tomatoes. My cousin Tracy had started growing her own and told me that the first time she ate one it was like a party exploded in her mouth. She now calls these little gems "sugar bombs" cause they literally burst juicy sweet yumminess every time you bite into one. Well, Brett made a quick trip to Thrifty's that night to pick up a few items for his work day lunches. He had also picked up a little cherry tomato plant to surprise me with! I can't wait for them to grow and ripen!

I don't have any photos of it, but when I was in Nelson I had found some marjoram seeds at an outdoor market (or the "hippie market" as my aunt puts it, since everyone there either has a head full of dreads, haven't showered in weeks, of smells of patchouli and sandalwood mixed with BO) where locals sold their goods. For some reason, we couldn't find marjoram seeds anywhere here in Victoria, nor could we find seedlings for it. So when I spotted packets of marjoram seeds at the market, I snatched up a few. Brett is excited about growing something from seed. I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about it, but it'll definitely test out our yet-to-be green thumbs. Using a few of the little pots that our herbs came in, Brett sowed half a packet of seeds. They now sit on a window ledge where the sun hits the most. As an experiment, 1 of the pots is covered in a plastic Ziplock bag while the other 2 are uncovered. We wanted to see which one will grow the fastest.

Now that our mini garden is underway, we have plans on getting some more. Brett wants to try his hand at growing peppers. What kind of peppers, I'm not sure. I, on the other hand, was thinking of a strawberry plant (my cousin's plant was so cute, it made me want one...her testimonial about how yummy they are sold me even more), and maybe some lavender and a variety of mint. I saw several different kinds of mint at the store, as well as spearmint, and it made me think of fresh salads laced with mint, tea, and mojitoes! I'm getting so excited!!

I'm also excited that I'm finally fulfilling a to-do item from this year's as well as last year's Earth Day posts. I had cited that I wanted to start growing my own herbs and was convinced that it would never happened and would be something that would forever be on my to-do list. How good it feels to be able to cross this off my list!

Now I just need to do some research on community composting...

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