This summer, I’ve been frequenting my friend Jordan‘s front porch, sipping on mojitos and mint juleps made with garden-fresh mint. After wandering out the front door and plucking mint straight from the source, I got a taste of how refreshing it can be to grow your own herbs in an era when most foods have become Americanized—processed, fried, salted and devoid of real flavor.
As a girl growing up in the suburbs, my only real experiences with growing food (of any kind) have been with some pumpkins my dad and I grew one year and a vague recollection of a second grade science experiment involving a lima bean. Now that I’ve developed a true interest in food, nutrition and gardening, I’ve decided it’s time to step into the wild world of food production on a very, very small scale. I don’t have a yard for a garden, but I have a sunny little side porch, which is where I’ve decided to grow my very own herb garden. Like I said, I’m starting small.
I went to the Norman Farmer’s Market last weekend and, feeling ambitious, bought rosemary, lavender, oregano, mint and two varieties of basil. I then picked up some organic potting soil and plopped my new plants into terra cotta pots.
Et voilà! Behold my herb container gardens!
I think I bought the last spearmint plant at the market; my poor, mangy-looking mint plant was terribly root bound upon its arrival. True to its reputation, my mint plant is already sprouting fresh green leaves in its new home on the porch. I’ll have mojitos in no time!
From the beginning, I figured I could buy my own basil plant for about as much as I would buy fresh sprigs of basil from the grocery store. I truly have nothing to lose with my little experiment. I’m wondering, though, have you had any luck growing your own herbs before? Any suggestions for future recipes? I just might feature your recipe right here on this blog. Let a girl know!
There are many benefits to growing herbs in containers. For me, it’s all about access. I love having fresh herbs growing in pots just outside my kitchen door. That way, when I’m in the middle of making dinner and realize I forgot to harvest a handful of basil or parsley, it’s only a few steps away. As well, different herbs have different moisture needs and growing them in pots is an easy way to control soil moisture. Of course, growing herbs in containers will also keep aggressive spreaders, like mint and lemon balm, under control and away from garden beds.