October 27th, 2012
It doesn’t take a genius to see that this past garden season was a hard one. For gardeners like myself, who enjoy watching what nature grows on her own and then adding complementary plants to the mix, it was excruciating to see the drought take hold early, and last until frost.
I have decided to bring my garden back to life, by keeping an indoor garden. The way I see it, if I grow enough fresh herbs all winter long, I can pretend that this dry, dusty growing season never happened.
Not one to take the easy route, I like to keep my herbs in their own individual pots and add grow lights. Yes, it might be simpler to just buy a premade indoor garden setup, but where is the challenge in that? Now, I have small pots of my favorites: basil, rosemary, chives, and mint, all growing under lamps that have full spectrum lights screwed into them. An added benefit, si that grow lights cast a lovely reading light over the area. It is nice to sit and read gardening magazines, making my wish list, surrounded by the scent of fresh herbs growing.
If you want to join me, start with something simple. Find your sunniest window and put a pot of something there. Try something that can survive with less than optimal care, like mint (any gardener will tell you – you can’t kill mint). Mint grows so easily, it never has to set
foot, err, root in soil of any kind to grow. Basil is the same way.
Grow these two hardy herbs, and have all the herbal tea and spaghetti flavoring you will need for the winter. Very little effort and big reward. Need more inspiration? How about trying your hand at an herbal standard? These beauties, also known as topiaries to some. They are often huge and located in some pretty fancy landscape designs. You can also find them in a more manageable size, for a desk or table.
Find one that is well manicured, growing well, with no signs of drying out. Then, if you are in a cooler climate, please be sure that it is very well wrapped before bringing it out of the store and into your vehicle. Don’t leave it in the car to do more shopping, just whisk it home and unwrap it once you get inside, away from cold drafts.
Keep it in a well lit area, adding a grow light if needed, and prune it to keep the tight shape. In our home, we like to use rosemary standards, and have had great luck with them. I add a tiny string of lights for the holidays, for a festive look. They are adorable and smell wonderful. Check them out!