Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall planting

I have a little garden on my balcony. I started it in March. I plantedherbs, including
dill and
mint. I also planted some vegetables like
lettuce, and

Amazingly, most of it has survived for more than six months! I have been meaning to do my fall planting for a while now. The summer plants have mostly stopped producing, and now it's time for plants that can't tolerate the heat. On Saturday, I finally got around to it. Luckily, Houston doesn't have a hard winter, so I think the plants will survive despite my procrastination. I pulled out the remnants of lettuce and tomatoes that had gone to the big garden in the sky and poured new dirt into a bunch of my pots. I planted carrots, kale, beets, and broccoli. I don't know if all of them will make it, but I look forward to seeing their little heads poke up through the dirt in the next couple of days. I also planted some dill and coriander seeds from the spice section of the grocery store. I don't know if they will germinate, but it will be fun if they do. I have a lot of volunteer basil and dill plants that have started poking up in various pots and might be able to hang in there for the long haul. After I finished my planting, there was a gentle rain on and off for the next two days. I think that was a good omen.

Having a garden has really changed the way we cook, especially with herbs. The vegetables were fun but produced small fruits sporadically, so we couldn't base a meal on the tomatoes from our garden or anything. Each vegetable was a treat that we carefully bisected and savored raw. But the herbs have grown very well. I have always enjoyed cooking with fresh herbs, but when you buy them from the store, they usually wilt before you can use them all, so I didn't do it very often. I have gotten so much enjoyment from sprinkling fresh herbs on salads or wrapping them in spring rolls. I learned that I love the combination of carrot and mint. Fresh rosemary and basil are excellent on pizza. They all look beautiful as garnish, and it's lovely to sit on the balcony sipping wine and nibbling on mint and basil.

When I first started my garden, I was pretty sure I was throwing my money away, and I would have been satisfied if any of my plants had lasted a month. I have truly been blessed by the fantastic success of my garden. I love watching the miracle of new life sprouting up before my eyes, and I hope to see those fall sprouts soon.


mollyjade said...

What do you do with your mint? I know it's one of the easier herbs to grow, but I can't think of anything to do with it beyond tea.

Jamie said...

I miss my garden patches in Houston. In the fall I always planted lots of carrots and parsley. We also had the most success with our herbs. We had 16 square feet devoted to basil (plus various basil plants in other places. I think we had 7 or 8 basil varieties in all.) You're making me miss Houston. This coming spring we plan to start a garden on our deck. I can't wait because it has been driving me crazy to pay several dollars for a tiny bunch of wilted herbs at the grocery store.

Clare said...

All your plants look lovely and it's nice to see someone else gardening in the sky!

Evelyn said...

Mollyjade, my favorite use for mint is in this carrot salad:
which has a yogurt-based dressing, but I'm sure you could modify it and use a plain soy or coconut yogurt or even plain silken tofu. You don't even have to make a dressing, though. Just make a salad of shredded carrots, mint, sunflower seeds, and blueberries. Mint is good in spring rolls and salads, and if you like mojitos, you can make those. A lot of people advocate using mint with fava beans or white beans in salads. I've never tried it, so I can't vouch for it. Mint is supposed to be good with peas, too, but that doesn't sound good to me.
Jamie, I remember how you said one time that the basil alone more than made up for the cost of your garden. I hope you get a nice garden to grow in your new home.