As we have started doing more cooking, we quickly realized the benefits of fresh herbs and ingredients. While going to a Farmer's Market is a great way to get fresh items, it can be a little pricy if you are driving across town just to get a couple things. Finding fresh quality items can be a challenge at your local grocer especially when it comes to fresh herbs, or items that are not the everyday produce items. We decided one day while at Lowe's to try our hand at growing some of these items to save time and money, and who doesn't love that idea.
We don't have a lot of room in our backyard to dig out a garden, but what we do have is space on our big patio. We got a couple of whiskey barrels and even just some old plastic pots from other gardening projects to make homes for our new garden residents, asparagus, shallots, eggplant, potatoes, squash,strawberries, chives, cilantro, parsley and basil. (give or take) In hindsight we should have labeled everything a little better, most items have a tag, but the ones we grew from seed, fell by the wayside. Live and learn I guess.
Something else to consider before beginning such a venture, is researching what you want to grow and how to grow it. A perfect example of this would be asparagus. We planted it according to the instructions and as it grew we got 1 tiny little asparagus that popped out of the ground. Excitement followed but then a couple days later we had what looked more like a weed where the asparagus stalk used to be. Confused, I did some research and it turns out that if you don't harvest the stalks, they sprout out into little fern like plants. Also learned that it will take about three, yes 3, years until the asparagus stalks grow big enough to be worth harvesting. Second lesson learned.
|Looks like a baby asparagus|
|Tsaketa!! Now it's a fern.|
Container gardening is great because it requires as much work as you want to put into it. Keeping your items in smaller containers makes it easy to move around if you need more or less light or moisture as well. If you have a pest problem, it can usually be contained to just a small area if you have things in separate containers. And a biggie is that in containers, the soil gets warmer faster and veggies love that. Be sure your containers have adequate drainage in them since moisture build up can be a bad thing. Just drill several holes in the bottom of your containers, or use containers that already have drainage in them. This is one instance where simple can be best!! Go big or go home just doesn't always apply.
It has been very fun to spend a little time each day checking out the progress of everything and seeing what changes have happened. You get a great feeling when you see what you are growing. I didn't think it would be this exciting, but it really is. So I recommend you give it a shot. Start small, maybe just a tomato plant or just a simple windowsill herb garden. I think you will find it as rewarding as we have.Leave comments and let me know what you are growing and how it is working for you. Feel free to ask questions too, I will be happy to give you any help that I can. I look forward to your comments!! Until next time remember, "A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something brussel sprouts never do." (P.J. O'Rourke,The Bachelor Home Companion)