Growing herbs saves money. Those little packages of fresh herbs in the grocery store at 2.00 to 4.99 a package are priced like an ounce of gold. A few pots around a sunny kitchen window saves money, adds immense flavor to all kinds of dishes, and provides a natural beauty around any kitchen, as well as a fresh aroma that a candle, potpourri or room deodorizer cannot replicate.
By growing herbs myself I save on the cost at the grocery store and save time and natural energy running to the store to get the herbs. Nothing planned for dinner? Grab the whole-wheat pasta in the back of your pantry with some fresh basil and a lonely tomato from the last of the summer tomatoes, and you have a meal. Herbs take the meal to a new level and are money in the bank. Basil added to mayonnaise livens up any sandwich. A homemade pizza costs about $1.44 and basil adds the panache that even the best Italian restaurants strive to deliver. Rosemary completes the earthy goodness to roasted chicken and vegetables. Thyme finishes a homemade soup with flavor that lingers like a good hug from your grandmother. The initial expense can be as little as $8.00 for four containers of herbs, including the soil, and basic pots. The cost is even less if you start your herb garden from seed.
When the weather gets cooler, I pinch my favorite herbs off a healthy stalk, which stand tall in my large pots outside. Take the stalk and add water to a mason jar to start the root. Basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme root quickly. Take good organic potting soil in a terra cotta pot with adequate drainage and plant your herbs. Water often enough that the soil is moist but not wet. Always pinch back your flowering herbs like basil and they will grow and grow providing you with an ample harvest of herbs.
Drying herbs is fun when you have a huge harvest. They too can be a fall decoration. Hang bouquets upside down and let them dry naturally. However, a dark closet speeds up the process. Chop the dried herbs and place them in the smallest Mason jar available with a cute fall ribbon or raffia and give to friends and neighbors. Place a recipe tag tied to the jar with instructions to use within six months, otherwise the herbs loose their flavor and taste like dirt, and then your friends think that you are just a tad weird instead of the herbal foodie that you really strive to be.
An Italian kitchen garden creates big culinary ambiance for little money and time.
A few containers in your window add immediate results, and no chance that the deer can eat your herbs inside your kitchen window. Make a pizza, call your friends, and shout out a big Salute!
Tricia Stearns is the market manager of the Peachtree City Farmers Market, ptcfarmersmarket.org, a Realtor with Prudential Georgia Realty and a mom of three grown daughters. You can read her blog at www.purpleokra.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.