Herb gardens, aren’t they cute and fun? Not to mention it’s a great way to introduce organic and fresh herbs to meals. Although, there’s not a whole of space to grow in an apartment like ours, just a balcony that receives ample sunlight… we think it’s a fun project to grow something of your own and it doesn’t cost all too much money. It’s also a way to get reconnected with nature while living in this concrete jungle. And gardening has been shown to be de-stressing.
While we could always buy herbs from the grocery store, we don’t have as much fun as harvesting it from our own personal garden. Who knows, we may expand it to an even larger operation.
Starting this project out we figured we would need materials, of course, but where to get them? We have a choice between a couple hardware stores that have gardening sections and a local botanical nursery. It turns out the larger chain sells the plants, pots, and dirt for a much lower price . Since it’s our first venture, I don’t think we should invest too much all at once and spend a little less upfront.
Factoring in the size of our balcony, we decide on a 30″ long planter with drainage and two bags of organic dirt. Why organic dirt? Why not is my response.
The fun part: choosing which herbs to grow!
- We use basil for making delicious, extraordinary fresh pesto to pair with our self-assembled cheese and meat boards and for pastas. So, that was a definite yes to basil. Then we perused and perused for the other three herbs.
- Curly parsley was a good choice since we make chimichurri sauce.
- Lavender repels mosquitoes. I love natural methods of repelling pests. I also really like lavender.
- Cilantro is also used for a variety of our beloved dishes like salsa and chimichurri, so this one is a yes as well
After some more research on which herbs complement each other, we decide that this was a good “crop” to start with! We load up the cart with our herbs, dirt, and planter.
This was pretty exciting! We were starting our own garden… with our plant babies 😉
All these plants need a good amount of sunlight and daily watering given the pretty warm climate in California. Are we going to remember to water them everyday even when we’re tired and it’s dark outside after long days at work? And what about pests! What if spider mites, aphids, ants, or something worse attacks our plants? What preventative measures need to be taken to ensure our plants are healthy?? From past experience aphids attacked our basil plant in our old apartment.. what are we going to do to prevent it from happening again?
We turn to google to research some effective preventative measures. We find that spearmint, although it grows like a weed, repels aphids. Dill weed plants also repel spider mites and aphids. (Why is it called dill weed when it’s not a weed?) So, we set out on our next shopping adventure to buy spearmint and dill. It turns out the local hardware store sells better-looking herbs than the larger chain store. There were a few varieties of mint — regular mint, chocolate mint, and spearmint. Which one is the right one to buy? It seemed like spearmint popped up in our searches as being the more common aphid repellent. Indeed we were going to go with spearmint.
We donned some gloves, rolled up our sleeves, and started planting our new garden!
Day 1 of Our Herb Garden:
After a week, we watered a did some pruning (only a few at the leaf junctures), the plants were upright and no longer wilting.
Day 10 of Our Herb Garden:
They’ve grown so much! I think we need to space them out a little more now that they’re actually growing, and not dying from our lack of planting experience! Hooray!
We also buy rosemary and oregano for our chicken based meal recipes.
I’m planning on creating a time lapse of our garden to show the progression of growth over time of our herb garden. Until then, happy gardening to all!
Here is a planter from Amazon that I think are similar to the planters we bought:
And here’s soil/potting mix, that we used for our plants
And we also bought plant food to help encourage the growth of our plants… I decided to go with all organic plant food, it’s not that much more money to pay for my peace of mind: