Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Patio Garden

When cooking paleo, you generally use fewer ingredients. This means you really get the flavor of what's in the dish. In one of the cookbooks I use, most of the recipes don't have more than five ingredients, and I find this to be true of my own recipes as well. But one thing common to most all dishes is the use of fresh herbs. They add TONS of fresh flavor and brightness to any dish (so much more than dried herbs).

Like I mentioned in my "About Me" section, I live in the city. In an apartment. I don't have the luxury of a yard for a large vegetable garden, but I do have a small patio that gets sun daily. So, I do what I can with what I have.

Now ... I'm not exactly known for my green thumb. I blame this on circumstances beyond my control—like having a patio with zero sunlight during the day or having a west facing patio during last year's Summer from Hell in Dallas. This may all be rationalizing ... we'll let this little endeavor be the judge.

About three weeks ago, I purchased a small (and cheap) little greenhouse at Home Depot for growing plants and herbs from seed. I picked an assortment of herb seeds and planted them that day. I put in three to four seeds per pod. (If you do this, I suggest keeping the seed packets because they provide useful information for when you can expect seeds to sprout, etc. Also, I labeled the greenhouse so I'd know which herbs were which.)

About a week or so after planting the seeds, I had this:



Those little suckers have grown so fast. I ended up putting the greenhouse outside on my patio because I started to see gnats flying around the apartment. (Gross!)

The plants have been really easy to maintain. I watered them as the small soil pods started turning lighter brown, which happened more and more often as they grew. Some pods have two or three separate sprouts, some have just one. By this past weekend, I had this:



I knew it was time (especially for the cilantro) to move those pups to their own little pots. Tonight was the night.


I put three to four pods per pot. Once I see which of each plant is thriving best, I'll cut the others out. Also, the pots I used are pretty big for the size of the plant, so I think I'm good for now. 

It'll still be a couple of months before I can use these in my recipes, so for now, I'll continue buying fresh herbs and washing them thoroughly.

On a side note, I still have more than half of my greenhouse full of sprouted, healthy plants. If you want some, I'm happy to send them to good homes. :)

To your good health,
Allison



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