Gardening is one of my all time favorite things to do in the summer, being completely engaged in the growing process of the food I eat really turns me on so I’m really really really really sad that I won’t have a garden this year. It’s not for lack of trying – I searched for an apartment that had an outdoor space available for gardening…. with no success. I also made an attempt to score community garden plot, which was a joke. They are booked forever and ever (or so it seems)… with a waiting list – I’m on that waiting list but I’m not holding my breath.
My compromise is an indoor herb garden and I’m pretty satisfied with it. I’ve always grown several herbs in my garden and I use at least one of the herbs in almost everything I make. For instance, I used cilantro in the pea hummus that I recently made.
Funny thing is, I have more herbs growing this year than I’ve EVER had (because it’s ALL I have). I am growing thyme, rosemary, cilantro, mint, stevia, basil, and lavender – and I’ve got big plans to use every single one of them in some recipes I’ve been wanting to try. Having herbs on hand really saves a lot of money – buying fresh herbs at the grocery can get expensive! This herb garden cost me approximately $75 to get started and I will definitely get my moneys worth.
Very few items are needed to start an indoor herb garden: mason jars (I had a few on hand not being used and I purchased a few more at the thrift store), potting soil, small pebbles (I found these at a craft store), starter plants (these can be found at a variety of different grocery stores, farmers markets, or Home Depot), and a sunny window (my sunniest window is south facing).
I used mason jars to plant my herbs because they were inexpensive and they fit in my window sill. Before I potted the plants, I put small pebbles at the bottom of each jar (about 1 inch high). The pebbles provide space for drainage in case the herbs get too much water and will prevent the roots from drowning. I made sure to not pack the soil heavily in the jars during the planting process, the plants breath through their roots so it’s important to leave some air in the jars.
I live in Colorado where the air is very dry so I’m paying close attention to the moistness of my herbs. I’ll probably add a little water to each jar every day instead of adding more water every few days.
Although it doesn’t take much time at all, these herbs will need to be checked and maintained every few days. In order to keep plants heathy, it is important that they be pruned, or cut back on a regular basis – although you never want to cut back more than 1/3 of the plant at any one time. Pruning regularly will keep the plant in it’s growth stage as long as possible and prevent it from flowering and dying off.
To decorate my mason jars, I found doilies and a woven muslin-like material that I applied to the jars using mod podge. I’m really satisfied with the “earthy” feel of the jars and plants.