Posted in Creations, Desert Life, Lessons Learned

“And we say “herbs” because there’s a fucking ‘h’ in it.” *

Because I am a ridiculous optimist regarding my ability to learn how to do something, contrary to all reason and personal experience, I have just ordered $37.25 in herb seeds, which amounts to thousands of seeds. The chamomile packet is 10,000 seeds alone…at least one of them has to survive my tender mercies, right?

I have decided that 2013 is going to be the year of the herb garden for several reasons. Firstly, Scott got me this book for Christmas, and I’m reading about all these herbal, low-toxin, cheap homemade options for everything from oven cleaner to PMS relief, and I’m curious to try them, because I never outgrew that 3-year-old stage of “I can do it MYSELF!” and because I’m not terribly impressed with what passes for the practice of Western medicine here in the Old Pueblo. (That is to say, Western medicine ’round these parts is pretty much “Old Western” medicine: “Take a slug of whiskey, bite down hard on this bullet, and keep doing that until you either pass out or the offending body part rots completely off; either way, it won’t hurt anymore.”) I don’t actually expect, or even believe, that herbal remedies will trump pharmaceuticals every time. However, if there are some areas where they can do a satisfactory job, and I can avoid giving all my money to chemical corporations, drug companies, and co-pays, I’m keen to find them.

Secondly, it really bugs me that I have such a black thumb. I joke about it, but I would like to be able to grow things, useful things, like food. I like having self-sufficiency skills, and while I can do all manner of handy home improvement things, come the apocalypse, all that won’t be worth a damn if I can’t feed myself. Farming is a basic fundament of civilization as we know it, and I find my inability to do it on even the smallest of scales unacceptable. I am determined to figure it out, and thought that perhaps starting small, with a windowsill herb garden, might be the place to start.

I actually have a big pot in front of the house filled with flourishing rosemary that I use regularly while cooking. I feel like an Earth Mama when I step from the house, scissors in hand, to harvest rosemary for bread and Italian cooking, and that makes my inner hippie happy. Also in that pot is a struggling sage, the last of three sage plants I’ve bought. The first one died, and I brought it back to Home Depot, and I bought two more with the credit, planting one where the other had been, and planting the other in a pot and bringing it into the house, part bet and part experiment. I wanted to see where the plant would be happier. The one indoors croaked; the one outdoors is so feeble that the leaves are too small to harvest for my pork saltimboca recipe, and I have to buy the herb at the store every time I make it.

I figure if I can master herbs (and by “master,” I mean keep alive for multiple seasons), I can move on to more challenging things, like vegetables, or perhaps a citrus tree. Herbs, in my mind, are the goldfish of responsible gardening. If you can keep a goldfish alive, you can level up to a hamster, and then maybe a parakeet, and eventually earn yourself a black belt in pet ownership by taking on the challenge of a Boxer puppy. If I can keep some chives alive, I’m going to try this cauliflower (which I aspirationally also bought seeds for, along with some poppies), and then perhaps, if all goes reasonably well, next summer I will attempt tomatoes and strawberries again, if I can time it right to avoid the hottest part of the season.

In any case, I have to believe that if Neolithic man and woman could manage to purposefully grow plants for consumption without benefit of secondary education and Google, then I, too, can learn.

Here’s what I got:

Top to bottom, then left to right:  Sage, Lemongrass, Oregano, Chamomile, Basil, Italian Parsley, Wild Bergamot,Lemon Balm, Garlic Chives, Chives, Peppermint, Holy Basil, Evening Primrose, Feverfew, Calendula, Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, Oriental Poppies, Ladybird Poppies
Top to bottom, then left to right: Sage, Lemongrass, Oregano, Roman Chamomile, Basil, Italian Parsley, Wild Bergamot,
Lemon Balm, Garlic Chives, Chives, Peppermint, Holy Basil, Evening Primrose, Feverfew, Calendula, Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, Oriental Poppies, Ladybird Poppies

*Source

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Author:

I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.

8 thoughts on ““And we say “herbs” because there’s a fucking ‘h’ in it.” *

  1. I hang my head in shame at my lack of planting skills. My grandparents brought seeds from friggin’ Italy when they moved here, and the cultivated a massive garden in their backyard year after year with seeds from the last. They grew so much they sold all the veggies on a cart in front of their house to the locals of our town, making a few thousand dollars a summer. For real. And my mother was a florist for God’s sake. Me? I killed a Christmas cactus.

    I keep trying though. I pick plants that are not supposed to die (hello hostas!) and read about types of soil, sun, shade, watering, etc. My plants have lived several years now. It’s exciting.

    Harry and Ellie tackle the herbs and veggies. And they’re good at it. I’m afraid to touch them for fear of killing them.

    Good luck with your garden! You’ve picked some delicious herbs and beautiful flowers (I love poppies). If you haven’t read up on it yet, check out info on companion planting. Many herbs and veggies work well together and help each other grow and accentuate their flavors while other combos will kill them both. It’s interesting stuff.

    1. My mom’s back patio looks like a tropical wonderland, but I didn’t get that gene. Or her sewing skills, either, for that matter. I have a pair of pothos plants (pothoses?) that a friend gave me when I was in college, because she couldn’t believe I hadn’t a single houseplant, and she swore I could keep these alive. 20 years later, they’re still going, though they’ve had some close calls. Thank dog they thrive on neglect. :p

      I will check on the companion gardening; one of the seed sellers I bought from threw in some tomato seeds, so I may give them a try. I have gathered my pots together, and will start making plans to start seeds soon. My California golden poppies are starting to come up already in the yard, too soon.

  2. Bailey and I planted an indoor herb garden a month or so ago. They sprang to life and I beamed with pride. Then every single damn one of my lovely little green springs withered and died. Oh well, she liked getting to play with dirt on the kitchen floor.

  3. I haven’t read the actual post yet, but the title? One of those lines my late husband and I used to repeat over and over and OVER again (it’s a good thing we found each other adorable, because otherwise we might have found each other unbearable). On a related note, I wish he were alive because (well, among other things, some even more important than this) he never got to find out that Dr. Heimlich was actually born in Delaware.

      1. Jealous! I’m totally in love with Eddie. When Jerry and I saw him on the Sexie tour, we were a row or two down from the last row of the upper upper upper balcony. We also got to see him on Broadway in Joe Egg – he was excellent.

      2. I am also. I’d do him in boy or girl mode. 😀 The photo I just posted to FB was from the Sexie tour, too, and we saw him in Scottsdale a few years ago, too.

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