Tuesday, October 23

Herb is Good

So, as a lactose-intolerant vegetarian who's avoiding raw foods, I occasionally have difficulty finding good things to eat. Shocked? Don't be. This is not due to a dearth of cooked lactose-free vegetarian options, but rather because I am lazy/busy and rarely find/make the time to cook(/eat). In an (overly?) optomistic attempt to remedy this situation, I planted an herb garden.

Bear in mind that I live in a city apartment with no deck and limited room. So, I decided to try a container garden in the hallway outside my apartment. I had an old (read: disgusting) cooler that would never have the priviledge of cooling a taste beverage again, thus I converted it into a garden with the help of a lot of soil and a few packets of miscellaneous seeds garnered from a compulsive eBay purchase (I guess compulsive + eBay is a bit redundant, but bear with me). I also (again, compulsively) bought a few pots at Ikea and finally had the chance to fill them with dirt and hope for the best. I planted peppers, basil, and tomatoes in the pots (placed in the windowsill), and peppers, chives, dill, and parsley in the cooler (right below).

After extensive passive research, here are my findings:

*Plants need sunlight. No, really. Lots of sunlight. The plants in the window did brilliantly, while only the peppers survived (but bore no fruit) down below in the cooler.

*A friend speculated that this may have been additionally due to the depth of the cooler, which may not have been ideal for water retention/drainage (whichever the poor suckers needed).

*Plants also need...WATER! Not my most original revelation, I know, but I found that it was genuinely difficult to remember and make time for watering the garden daily. I felt like every day as I was racing out the door to work or yoga I would cast a forlorn glance towards my neglected herbs and promise myself I would water them when I got home (I work in a restaurant and usually get home between 1-2am...this promise was rarely fulfilled). I feel this was the most significant impediment to my success.

*I also had to rotate the pots in a moderately successful attempt to make the plants grow straight. It felt kind of like seventh-grade science class.

In the end, I cranked out some fine basil and a few very, very hot peppers (eBay's "mixed pepper mix" yielded an awful lot of serranos), which definitely helped out some wayward sun-dried tomato tapenade; an impromptu brunch of apple-cheddar omelettes and roasted potatoes; and a few bruschettas that needed an extra kick (and boy did they get it). In the future, I want MINT, more basil, rosemary (isn't that supposed to be hardy?), and will probably give the chives and parsley another chance...in the windowsill this time.

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