Things you’ll never have to buy again, part 3

One of the readers has suggested running around naked to save on clothes – or so I understand – and I would gladly adhere if it weren’t so damn cold! We’ve had the worst month of June ever, with too much water and too little sunshine… Even the flowers in the garden seem to disapprove (with one exception), which brings me to today’s piece of wisdom. Let’s talk plants!

If you like a little peps in your plate you’re probably deep into seasoning – and so am I. Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary – all are frequent and welcome guests in my kitchen. And all of them can cost quite a bit, once dried and packed into nice little containers…

Homegrown, by Iryna Klionava (that's me!)

Homegrown, by Iryna Klionava (that’s me!)

The good news is, you don’t need dried herbs if you can have fresh ones! They taste and smell a thousand times better, look attractive in the plate and will last as long as you manage to keep the plants alive.

Kitchen herbs are mostly low-maintenance plants that don’t necessarily need to live outside: they will grow happily on a well-lit window-sill or a balcony (a tip: if you don’t want to share your herbs with critters, do keep them inside!). Indoor plants need all the sunlight they can get and as to the water, you’ll have to figure out the right amount by trial and error: personally, I prefer give them a little water day in, day out rather than drown them every once in a while, but, as I say, my kitchen isn’t yours and my plants might need more water, or less water, or exactly the same amount of water as yours, but for a different reason… Hence: practice! One thing your plants will definitely need is good drainage. Don’t believe Pinterest: no plant can survive (long) in a mason jar or any other container deprived of drainage holes, no matter how cool they look. Drainage is what prevents the roots from suffocating if you’ve watered your greens too generously.  And if you forget to water? Well, you’ll get dried herbs! If your plant looks like it won’t survive, harvest what’s left, wash, air dry, shred – and put into one of those nice little containers: I know you haven’t thrown them out yet!

How does my herb garden grow? Well, not bad at all! I have thyme and mint (the one that’s perfectly happy with the lousy weather) in a flower bed, chives in a pot on the terrace and basil and rosemary on a tray by the kitchen door that’s actually a French window, or whatever they call it. There are also two sprouting  onions and a celery butt (all in plastic containers with a little water at the bottom) to keep them company and before winter I’m going to add oregano, parsley, thyme and mint in pots – so I can pick them fresh all year round. Not bad, huh?

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