Saturday, March 27, 2010

Victory Garden: Getting Started

When you start cooking a lot you begin to notice some things. You’ll soon discover that dry herbs, especially those that are dried leafs like basil and rosemary, are nowhere near as good as their fresh/living counterparts. You’ll also begin to notice the most recipes call for herbs and more often than not it’s basil or rosemary. And after a few trips to the super market, you will notice that fresh herbs are not cheap. We found that shelling out $2.50 for a packet of basil that we will most likely use only once gets old very quickly.  I quickly decided that this was whack and made the decision to cut out the middle man and grow our own herbs and vegetables. How hard could it be? My parents have been gardening for years and they can barely compose an email. So over the spring and summer we will chronicle our misadventures in the world of horticulture as I try to stick it to the man and grow our own ingredients.

While on a trip to Wegmans a couple of weeks ago (side note: Wegmans on a weekend afternoon is like Hogwarts for food enthusiasts, but that’s another post for another time) we took the plunge and bought some seeds: basil, rosemary thyme and tomato.

Me and the other blogger went home, cut up some solo cups (the classiest vessel to germinate seeds, remember to punch holes in the bottom for drainage), we then leveraged (pardon the consultantenese, I hate my life sometimes) some leftover dirt from a re-potting of my house plant and viola had 14 dirt and seed filled cups in our mini nursery.

I will be assuming the majority of responsibility during this summer long experiment. The plants are at my place and I’ve got a lifetime of experience providing slave labor in my parent’s garden. My counterpart, on the other hand, is the Jack Kevorkian of potted plants. She must water those things with cyanide because on two occasions I have given her a living plant and they were both pushing up daisies within a week. I will get her thumbs green before it is all said and done.

Gardening is like watching grass grow. Every day I come home hoping to see my little guys making progress, but they always look the same as they did when I left them in the morning. I have to keep telling myself that all I had a couple of weeks ago was a dozen solo cups full of wet dirt. Take a look at our nursery now (below), its on a nice, big easterly facing windowsill in my bedroom. (my parents contributed a basil, rosemary and mint from a nursery, the ones not in solo cups). Most of the seeds have sprung and a couple of tomatoes (pictured above) are the early front-runners to be eaten first.

So there it is, the start our garden and our fight against supermarket vegetable section tyranny. I forgot to mention one key fact that will surely keep things interesting this spring, I don’t have any dirt on my property to plant these things in.

Hope you tune in for Victory Garden's next post:
Money Talks, a trip to the Home Depot and a break even financial analysis

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