Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Herb Garden In the Making

I love to cook with a variety of fresh herbs and I've been thinking for some time that I really ought to try to grow an herb garden since it is very expensive to continuously buy fresh herbs at the grocery store. However, I don't have much experience gardening and frankly, I find the idea a little scary. I suppose it is because I didn't spend too much time gardening as a child and I don't really feel as if I know the correct steps to go through to get the desired result. 

Since I couldn't quite motivate myself to go out and buy the things I ought to have to start my herb garden, I asked my mom for some supplies for my birthday last month. She came through beautifully and sent me a book about her gardening, a deck of little cards with tips about herb gardens, and some packets of seeds. That was definitely the motivation I needed to get started. 

About a week ago, Woodley and I dropped into our local Smith and Hawken to pick up some pots and soil. We probably should have gone to our local nursery, but we happened to be at the mall so S&H was the only gardening-type store around. They were very helpful though and I felt like we got a good supply of things to start with, even if it was a bit pricey. 

Here are some of my seed packets that I'm starting with. I decided to focus on the ones that could be started indoors before being transplanted to the garden. Especially since I haven't quite decided where I should try to transplant the seedlings to. We have several garden spaces around our house but they are a bit overgrown and we'll need to dig them out a bit before planting things in them. 

For my first potting experiment, I decided to start with some kitty grasses that we had bought for Leila. I decided we should put them in a big pot since I didn't want her to tip a little pot over while she was trying to eat the grass. 

Here are the grass seeds on top of the soil. I hope I put the right amount in. I guess I'll just have to wait and see! :) 

The final kitty grass container with soil covering the seeds. It has been 2 days so far and I haven't seen any little grass shoots poking up. They should start coming up sometime around the 3rd day though so I have high hopes for tomorrow! 

To help with our seedlings, the folks at S&H recommended this Jiffy-7 Greenhouse 36. It has 36 pellets of peat soil that you can use to start seedlings. Then, once the plants are big enough, they are easy to transplant to the garden. It seemed like an easy way to start and since it only cost $10 we were excited to try it. 

Here's how the peat pellets looked when I first opened them. They were very dry and small. Since it was an absolutely gorgeous day, I decided to take them outside to do the planting in the sunshine. 

Above is the Jiffy greenhouse before I added any water. 

And here it is after I added the 4.5 quarts of warm water. The peat pellets are just starting to fluff up. 

I waited for about 5 minutes and they continued to rise up. It was pretty fun to watch! 

Here they are, fully fluffed up with the water. Some rose a little higher than others and I decided to add a little extra water to a few of them that seemed extra dry. 

The next step was to loosen the netting around the top of the little piles and to dig up and fluff the soil a little bit. 

After fluffing the soil I planted about 3 seeds per peat bundle and gently covered them over with the peat soil. I did three for each type of herb and also included one type of tomato and three Cosmos. 

Above is the finished greenhouse. Now all there is to do is wait and gently water them! How exciting! 

So that I don't get confused about the different plant types, I made myself a little chart that shows me what is in each peat bundle. My collection includes: parsley, dill, 3 types of basil, sage, thyme, oregano, and marjoram in addition to the cherry tomatoes and the cosmos. I'm going to have to look for some tarragon seeds because I'd love to have some to cook with! 

Here is the finished greenhouse in our dining room window. It isn't supposed to get direct sun so I think this will be a good place for it because the window is in a little nook and is usually shady. When the seedlings start coming up I'll move it outside so they can get the right amount of sunlight. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it will work! 


1 comment:

  1. I have been meaning to do something similar to this for a few weeks now, but have kept putting it off. Hopefully, I'll get around to it Monday!