Hands down, other than a good knife, the best investment you can make in your Kitchen is a small window herb garden. It takes about an hour to plan, purchase and set up and pays for itself pretty fast if you cook at home on a regular basis. Instead of having to pay $5 for a small pack of herbs every time you need a sprig of Rosemary, you can just clip what you need.
I don’t have a yard or really much room at all to work with but I do have a window with a 4 inch ledge in my Kitchen that gets a good amount of light everyday so that’s my starting point. The next question was what did I actually need and what would I use on a regular basis. For me, it was Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Chives and Parsley, for you it might be different. Ahh, but don’t get your heart set on anything just yet.
Even if I’m sure I know what I’m doing, I always ask people who know more about the subject than I do. If my plan is solid, I’ll get their blessing and maybe some tips to make my idea better. If not, they can stop me from wasting my time and energy. Same with this.
Go to the greenhouse and talk to someone there who knows about herbs. Tell them about the space you’re working with and how much light it gets and what you’re hoping to grow and they’ll take care of you. In fact, they kinda saved my ass since I knew I needed Rosemary but was hoping to do everything in one pot. The guy at the store reminded me that Rosemary will take over everything and it would be better to keep it in it’s own pot so everything else can flourish.
Cost and Setup:
For 5 starters, two pots, an 8 pound bag of soil and some fertilizer sticks, I spent all of $50. That might sound like a lot but when you add up how much I’ve spent on fresh herbs over the past few months, this garden is going to pay for itself in a month.
Setting this up involves pouring soil into the pot, making a space for the plant, placing the plant in the soil then covering it with a bit more soil before you stick a fertilizer stick in and water it every other day. It’s not complicated folks.
Not only does this save you dollars in the long run, having to take care of the plants gives you a much deeper respect for the ingredients you work with and this makes you more aware of what you’re doing, thus resulting in a better dish. It’s also going to make you want to cook more since you have the good stuff right there in front of you.
It’s not the end all, but it’s a start:
It takes a lot of Basil for me to make Pesto so no, this isn’t going to replace that. And no, as much as I’d love to, I won’t be growing and milling my own corn for Tortillas anytime soon. But it’s a start, it’s a small step in the right direction and once you start growing even one or two plants, it will shift your perspective on food and cooking. Take my word for it, you handle and cut parsley differently when you’ve grown it since you really start to understand.