Food In Progress....


A few weeks ago, the sky opened up and blessed us with several beautiful, warm and sunny days in a row. Spring was finally here! The trees and flowers budded, bloomed, and spewed forth enough pollen to coat the world yellow. After a few days of wallowing in a stuffed up, swollen, pollen-induced coma, I hacked and sneezed my way to the pharmacy for my annual purchase of Claritin D. Once the yellow haze started to disappear, I could think a little clearer and remember what it is that I love about Spring....

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is revitalize my herb garden. I manage to keep some of my herbs growing outdoors year round thanks to the somewhat warm climate here in the Land of Nowhere but I always delight in digging in the dirt when the weather turns warm and depositing some new, tender plants. I usually reserve planting for a day when I'm most stressed about something because I work out alot of my aggressions while digging. It's just one of those things that I find soothing and peaceful. My rosemary, chives, garlic, and parsley have been with me for several years now and this year my new additions include peppermint, lemon balm, purple ruffled basil, sage, sweet basil, thyme, oregano and cilantro.

Herb gardening is fun because it's not overly complicated nor does it require alot of space. Even though I live on about 2 acres of land, my herb garden exists on a small patch of grass right outside my patio door. Most people cultivate herbs in pots, and quite frankly that's the only way I've had luck growing them too. One year after we first moved here, I scratched out a nice patch of dirt and deposited my sweet little herb babies straight in the ground. What the squirrels didn't demolish was left to shrivel up in the rock hard Arkansas clay. Herbs like direct sunlight and they like to be abused just a bit. I don't mean that you need to go out in the yard and yell or swat at them a couple of times a day, but instead they like to be crowded, neglected, and watered very little. The perfect garden for a busy person such as myself! I had some old galvanized tubs left over from a long ago catering gig that I drilled some holes in the bottom of so the soil could drain well and they worked perfectly.

It will only take a couple of weeks before you start the reap the benefits of growing your own fresh herbs - just tonight I snipped some fresh parsley and basil to garnish my chicken Parmesan and very soon you'll be reaping the benefits of some great recipes featuring my home-grown bounty, so stay tuned. In the meantime, this website offers some great tips on planting, identifying, and harvesting herbs and I suggest you check it out and derive your own stress-relieving pleasure from digging in the dirt!



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