Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When the weather gets warmer - when the sun finally crawls back into the sky with a sleepy stretch of grace - I feel completely alive.  I've always loved spring; it's like everything in me wakes up.  I think about the periods of transition that happen not only each year but in our lives; somehow emerging from the cold is like making a promise to myself to live and be happy.  

Off of our condo, G and I have a small porch.  We have a neat view of huge pine trees and a little playground, and I love sitting out there with a glass of iced tea and a good book.  Anyway, I'm thinking of getting some window boxes/planters to mount on our porch railing.  As may be clear, I'm a cook by nature, and I really want to grow my own herbs.  Herbs I can't live without:

1.  Rosemary: chicken, potatoes, roast beef, infused butter, bouquet garni.
2.  Marjoram: goat cheese omelets, Brussels sprouts with shallots, infused cream for leek soup.
3.  Mint: iced tea, compresses for nasal congestion, mint-cream truffles.
4.  Bay leaves: for just about anything.  It's good luck to get the bay leaf!

Mint is a notorious space-hog (not a hog from space - though that sounds pretty cool - but it takes over everything).  Rosemary tends to get tall instead of wide.  I have attempted a window box before, with limited success.  I'd really like to try to grow peppers, since I've found that most of the food I cook has some peppery element.  Important pepper-growing facts:

1.  Plants need to be 18-24 inches apart.  
2.  It's good for the plants to get some shade in the afternoon, so planting something like geraniums (which help peppers grow) will supply some natural shade.
3.  Soil needs to be heavy on organic matter, well-drained, and watered consistently.  

Now - I just have to find a good place in the HoCo to find herb and pepper plants.  I think I'll be heading to Home Depot for planters and brackets, but I'd prefer to go to a real nursery for the plants.  Any thoughts?  

Now, for some porch-sitting.  Trader Joe's Mint Melange Tea and trashy literature, here I come...

1 comment:

  1. We buy a lot of plants every year at the Baltimore Herb Festival in Leakin Park. They sell every herb you could possibly imagine and lots of vendors also have various veggie plants. (Including peppers.) This year the festival is May 28th from 10-3 if you're interested in checking it out.