Monday, April 19, 2010

My Herb Garden

This doesn't really have a whole lot to do with the kinds of things I normally blog about but I love to cook. Like, really really love it. And I'm even getting more into baking which is something I found hard to do at first. (I'm not that into measuring and patience, which you need in spades to bake anything decent.) I find cooking both calming and rewarding. I love having Brad act like something I made tastes amazing. I find it even more fun to adapt a recipe to our particular tastes and have it turn out that much better! Cooking has always been a hobby but lately I've been doing even more to contribute to our tasty (and healthful) meals!

I also post about this over on my cooking blog but since it's been so much a part of my life lately I thought I'd talk about it over here. Specifically, that I have been very productive lately!! I really enjoy using fresh lemons from the lemon tree that grows in my backyard as ingredients in my meals. And I have been wanting an herb garden ever since we moved into this house but I haven't gotten off my butt. Well, for some reason a couple of weekends ago, I was bitten by the bug and Sunday morning I woke up and asked Brad if we could go out and get all the things we needed for the herb garden. And so we spent the rest of the day at Lowe's and in the yard!

I decided to try and find (and plant) my favorite herbs and then the ones I use most often. (Like parsley, don't love the taste but it's great in everything for some freshness.) The front row (closest to the walk) has three herbs. Flat-leaf Parsley is the one that is farthest away, oregano is in the middle and basil is the closest, in the corner. In the back, near the house is dill (farthest away) and cilantro.

As you can see from the picture, Raina likes to be outside with us while I'm working in the garden. She loves to explore! Luckily she has she no interest in my herbs. Those are for the grown-ups!

I can't even tell you how happy I am about this herb garden. I'm scared to death that I'll kill it but so far I have prevailed. The first couple days I was afraid of drowning it so I avoided watering. I was told to be sparing on the water for the first few days!! But by day 3, they were looking wimpy, puny and all-around droopy. And I was convinced I had killed them. I read up and found out that after they are established they should be watered about every other day, about when the soil starts looking dry. So I dashed out and watered them right away. What do you know? The next day they bounced right back, must have just been dehydrated! I've taken to watering them about every other day and almost 2 weeks later they are doing great. Look at the "after" photo!!

Well, I do have one that is lagging behind! I had the worst time finding all the herbs I wanted. There were a few I was hoping for that I just couldn't find, or what I found was in pretty bad shape. Like the cilantro. It's tied with basil as my favorite herb. I just LOVE the stuff. (Oregano is Brad's favorite herb, btw). So I was beyond disappointed when after trips to 2 different places I couldn't find any decent cilantro. But I loved it so much I bought the only two plants they had that still looked half-alive. (For reference, I bought four of each of all the other herbs.) I planted them hoping that a little TLC would bring them back.

One shriveled up and died in about 2 days. Two weeks later, the other little plant is still hanging on! And it's starting to look pretty good! But it just can't quite grow and expand like the others are. Brad and I are planning a trip to the farmer's market this Sunday and I'm going to see if I can find any more cilantro buddies for the one I have that is growing lonely in my back yard!

I never thought I would have so much fun and interest in gardening. But as much as I love to cook (especially with fresh herbs) this garden really suits me. There is nothing like snipping a few fresh herbs and then making dinner with what you grew in your own backyard! I've already made salsa and some yummy pasta (to be posted soon) with my new herbs. Can't wait to use them again! Yum!

~Layne

5 comments:

  1. Oh yum!!!! I have an herb garden in my front yard and I just love it. I plant all of the herbs you are growing, plus rosemary and chives. Mmmmmmmm. I don't know if you know this, but the oregano will come back every year (at least in CT it does) and will start to take over the garden. I rip it back every spring so I have room to plant my other herbs. :)

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  2. I've been wanting to do an herb garden myself. Yours are looking good. I've got some basil that grew pretty well in a pot on my porch but at some point I got bad about pruning and watering it so it died. I'm going to try again with the basil and will have to venture out to some of the others. I do love fresh herbs in my food! I'm going to have to check out your cooking blog. I love new recipes and ideas. But I'm the opposite of you as I find baking easier than cooking.

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  3. Karen - I'm glad to hear the oregano will come back every year. As for the rest I'm trying not to think about having to plant ANY of them over again. I don't love gardening, just cooking and having fresh herbs at my disposal. Doing the minimum (watering and pruning) sounds great to me! I'm hoping the easy Florida winters will mean there is a chance of all of my herbs making it to next year! ::fingers crossed::

    Christi - Every time I do it, I love baking more and more. But with yeast recipes and rising times I find patience difficult! As far as cooking, I hope you find something to inspire you on my cooking blog. My favorite appliance is my slow cooker. Don't know if you have one but they are fabulous!!

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  4. I do have a slow cooker, but sadly, don't pull it out very often. Love that dinner is ready when I get home, but find it hard to plan and prep everything the night before. What are your favorite slow cooker recipes?

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  5. Basil and cilantro are my two faves, too- hands down! :-)

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