At present, I live in a cozy (that’s craigslist-speak for “small,” right?) city apartment.
Honestly, I kinda lucked out. I have a somewhat separate kitchen, two (TWO!) closets, and ALL of the morning light. (All of it). But, c’mon- it’s an affordable NYC apartment- so space is at a premium!
It is an oft dreamed of un-reality for most city dwellers to have a garden. Nothing huge. A small balcony fit for container gardening. A sunny stoop. A luxurious 10-square-foot back “yard” overlooking an alleyway…
Alas, my little nook is located several stories above ground level, in a building with at least 50 neighbors, and thus- I possess none of these. I have a pretty impressive collection of low-maintenance houseplants, but…nowhere to fulfill the dream of growing a bit of my own sustenance.
Over the past couple years, I’ve spent a lot of time in my kitchen. I’ve tried out bunches of new recipes, and washed a hellava-lot of dishes (four apts…never had a dishwasher…not bitter at all…). But, due to this increased zeal for cooking, I’ve also purchased a pretty hefty quantity of cooking herbs from my corner shop.
Aaaand a shameful percentage of them proceeded to kick the bucket in the depths of my fridge….
I researched ways to make them last longer. I lovingly wrapped damp paper towel around bunches of basil. I stored a trimmed bunch of cilantro in a mug of water with a plastic bag eerily ballooning over its leaves. I even got a second use out of that batch (but was startled every time I opened the fridge door).
Nonetheless- at a minimum, half of it went to waste.
So, at the start of spring, on a sunny afternoon, I decided it was time! Time to make use of a neglected, sun-filled kitchen windowsill! Sure…the sill itself is roughly 1 ½ ft. long, and about 9 inches deep… totaling sliiiiightly more than single square foot. But! It’s just big enough for a teensy, kitchen herb garden. Nestled in a generous window box, I am currently growing thyme and basil! (And a beast of a rosemary plant that gets it’s own pot to avoid bullying).
I am the most amateur-ish of all amateurs at gardening. I have lofty dreams of someday having a Barbara Kingsolver-esque spread (and of knowing how to tend it, of course!). But if the beginning of the post didn’t provide an adequate picture- it’s been… a long time since I’ve had a yard in which to get muddy. So… I’ve got a long way to go (and absolutely welcome advice if you are so inclined!).
I started out with a cilantro plant as well (shown). Of course, after I brought it home I read that it would only last for 2-3 “harvests” before going to seed, and despite my best efforts at mentally willing the poor thing to keep on truckin’, it ultimately succumbed to its Google-searched prophecy. I’ll have to do more research before trying again.
The basil and thyme are pretty happy about it, I gather- a little more room to stretch out now (I may have been overly ambitious with the 3-in-1 box).
A cilantro plant only costs about the price of a bunch or two of grocery store cilantro…so…that’s totally a win, right? (If you are a cilantro expert…I’m all ears!)
I’ve used the basil as an occasional ingredient on these naan pizzas, and have decided that I really like thyme in my eggs! I even tried it twice to be sure.
I have big plans for the beast-y rosemary and a chicken.
Along with the cooking herbs, I also commandeered a lavender plant. It now lives right near my study corner, where I hope that it will ooze some calming magic…
Though my home be but humble, where there’s a will to grow, there’s a way!
Stay tuned for a future sequel to this post in which we’ll take a look at some of the evidence surrounding the potential health benefits of consuming herbs and the like. They don’t call it an ancient practice for nothing!
Have a deliciously flavorful weekend!