Armed with my Royal Horticultural Gardening Bible and a very keen 2 year old I attempted some more green fingeredness. I couldn’t face the mess that is main garden yet but we decided to create a little kitchen garden.
As a cook having herbs is a necessity to give flavour but having them fresh out of the garden is like a dream come true. I have never been able to keep my herbs happy indoors. They just drink so much water I can’t top them up enough and I end up with very sad shrivelled looking things.
We took a trip to the garden centre down the road in Gampelen to get all the equipment we needed and our herbs. The problem is that when you go to such a place you invariably get side tracked. We went in for a couple of herb pots, some soil and herbs and came out with a proper kitchen garden complete with:
- Parsley (curly and flat leaf)
- Basil (greek and standard)
- Thyme (silver leaf and lemon)
- A bay tree
- Radish seeds
- Two tomato plants (cherry and vine)
- Pots (2 large, 2 medium and one small)
- Ceramic drainage beads
- Plenty of soil
- 1 purple child’s rake
(The only reason there is no tarragon is because it is still too early for it and I have already Rosemary taking over the main garden as it is.)
The problem is is that E and I just got so over excited at the prospect of making our garden so we kept finding more “good ideas”. Plus its all useful stuff. “Just think at the savings we will make over time no longer buying the everything in small bunches overtime,” I explained later to the tutting hubby.
Firstly all the herbs were on offer and they were right next to the seeds (I remember planting them as a kid and how easy it was) and then E spotted the tomato seedlings. Then I found some great big plastic pots that looked just like real terracotta ones by an Italian brand called Marchioro. Going in I had no idea how much soil it would take to fill a container and so was very happy when I found the drainage beads (a less costly method to fill the base of the pot). It also seemed a good way to create a water reservoir for the plants (as per the manufacturer’s handy instructions) however, I have since learnt on the gardening forums that drainage wise it makes no difference.
So about 15 unloading trips to and from the car later we had all our materials ready to go in the garden. I filled up the pots and then E fetched the plants for me and helped me to remove them from their pots, slightly separate the roots and place them in the new containers.
I had previously done some research on which herbs I could put together after previous experience with some mint that killed all my herbs in one pot. It turns out mint should be planted in its pot in the container to try and limit its roots spreading and strangling all the others. Aromatic herbs such as thyme, oregano, sage and chives are all very happy to be planted together but should be kept apart from herbs such as parsley or basil. Thus we had one pot for the aromatics (including mint) and another for the rest. The Bay tree I planted in a small pot alone and the tomato plants both had a pot each on the sunniest side of the patio. I had been told that I could simply plant the tomatoes into two grow bags cut open and place one on top of the other but since I fell in love with my Peter Rabbit style pots the grow bag was used for the radishes instead.
Once the grow bag was cut open we made some holes for drainage in the side and then made a series of holes to pop the seeds into which we then recovered with soil.
We also kept one bag of soil for our potatoes . We put 3 in a bag, made some holes for drainage and closed it up to keep them away from the sun.
Now it was E’s turn to be a watering demon with her little blue watering can.
The next day our herbs looked extremely happy and perky much to my relief after their extreme watering trauma which left them a little flat.
Indeed they have all gone from strength to strength except for the basil which I might have to relocate. The Greek basil seems to be more resilient but I think they need more light and the other faster growing herbs are smothering them.
Our radishes are also sprouting well but I think the initial watering washed them all to one end of the grow bag, leading to slightly cramped growing conditions.
Check out the tomatoes and potatoes! Now we are just waiting for the flowers on the potatoes to give us an idea of when they are ready. We need to wait for the flowers to come and then wilt and hopefully we will have a sack full of spuds.
E is turning into a proper little gardener as she learns along with us and she is very happy with her little rake.
I’m generally very pleased with our latest gardening experiment and am thoroughly enjoying using herbs every time I cook… I actually have to use herbs every time I cook or else they will take over (they are thriving that well).