Monday, March 29, 2010

Start of an Herb Garden

I love the idea of having an herb garden right outside my kitchen door. I loved the idea so much that I bought several different types of seeds and began to plan my garden. But the more I planned, the more I realized, RNH and I don't use a lot of the herbs I wanted to plant so bad. So I re-thought my herb garden and cut it down. Based on what we eat, and what we use, I planted only a few herbs. Probably half of what I originally planned.

On the left hand side of the deck stairs, I planted mint. I have no clue what kind it is because I bought it from a man a the Raleigh Farmer's Market. I had never been and took a special trip there with my sister. I was bummed because there really wasn't much for sale (since its still early in the season) and everything was pretty expensive. I purchased three herb plants and that was it. The mint is planted on the left-hand side of the deck because it is very shaded at all times of the day. It is doing very well despite the 90 degree days we have had. I planted it all by itself in its own space since its supposed to spread well. I'm pretty excited about the idea of making fresh mint juleps and dipping the leaves in chocolate. I love anything mint-chocolate. I'm going to have to do some research to figure out what else I can make. Anyone have anything they can recommend?
The right hand side of the deck receives a lot of sun. This is where I planted rosemary. Its not looking too great right now, but the weather is going to be getting better and I think it will be fine. RNH and I don't use a ton of rosemary, but I think it is one of those herbs that we can learn to use a lot. Plus its got such a great aroma and I think it will be nice to smell every time we come in and out of the house.
Next to the rosemary is the dill. We usually only use dill for pickles. We're planning on canning a lot of pickles this year, so having fresh dill on-hand will be perfect. Last year I bought a few sprigs from the grocery store, only to have them wilt in the refrigerator before I could use them. This year there will be less waste. I'll also look into other things that call for dill. Since dill doesn't come back year after year, (at least I think that's what I read!), I went ahead and planted it pretty close to the rosemary. I'm thinking next year the rosemary might take over and get bigger, so the dill will have to find a new spot.
Next to the dill is the basil. The dog chewed the top off of it right after I planted it, so its not looking too great. Ugh. I love basil. One of my favorite things to make is a basil butter. It is just butter, basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. It is easily frozen and is great on corn, chicken, toast, etc. Love it. Because RNH loves basil too, and he has serious doubts on the recovery of our broken basil, he went ahead and purchased another plant. It was planted in a pot and looks much better.
To the right of the basil is oregano. My mother in-law brought us several small sprigs of oregano from her own garden. I'm not sure what we are going to do with it, but I'm sure we'll use it for something. I'm thinking we're going to be making some marinara sauce with all of these herbs!
RNH and I also purchased some cilantro from our local nursery. We bought two bunches and planted them in a pot as well. RNH makes an awesome salsa, so having fresh cilantro on hand will definitely help. Besides, when he buys cilantro from the grocery store, he often picks up parsley by mistake. Now we won' t have this problem!
Speaking of parsley- I also purchased some flat-leaf. We don't use it a ton, but I love to make shrimp and pasta dishes, with a butter and wine sauce, and sprinkle that with parsley. The herbs were so cheap at the nursery, I couldn't help it and purchased some parsley too! I'm sure we'll find more uses for it!

There is no more room in our herb garden, so the new basil plant, cilantro and parsley were all planted in pots and are kept on the deck. This is actually better for me because I can keep a better eye on them and make sure they're well-watered. They're also out of reach of the chickens (so far!). The chickens don't seem too excited about the herbs in the ground though. Is that usual, or will they become a pest as the garden grows?

So far the chickens have stayed out of the garden for the most part, now that it has garden netting surrounding it. I hope they continue to stay out as everything begins to grow!!!

1 comment:

  1. Your herb garden looks great! You are so much farther along than me. So far all I've planted is my rosemary plants and a few seeds indoors. The rest of it is all in my head.

    I love iced peppermint tea. I'm not much of an iced tea drinker, not even sweetened. Especially not sweetened. But I do like to make tea of peppermint and ice that. Peppermint is so cooling anyway, so for a hot summer's day drink, it can't be beat.

    Do tell us what else you learn to do with it. I wonder if it could be soaked in vodka or brandy for peppermint flavoring(?)