Dinner from the Windowsill

The same thing happens every year: fresh and healthy, “how-convenient-to-have-me-ready-t0-use-right-in-your-kitchen” herb plants appear in the supermarket. And every year, failing to remember last year’s disaster, I buy another basil, thyme, or chives plant. I bring it home, all exited that I’ll never have to use dried herbs again, or buy over-priced, tiny amounts of pre-packaged fresh herbs. I put the plant on a little saucer, water it enthusiastically, maybe play it some Bach, and use it the same evening in whatever i’m cooking that night. What a joy, fresh produce from my own little windowsill garden! This euphoria lasts for about three days, when one of two things happen: either the herb, despite (or perhaps because of?) my frantic watering, starts to shrivel and dry out, or a cloud of obnoxious little flies moves into my herb plant, ascending from it each time I come close. I fight these symptoms passionately for another week or so, after which the sight of this sad, brown, decaying plant forces me to admit defeat. Another one bites the dust.

Well-meaning friends and relatives assure me that this happens to everybody, that herbs are very hard to keep alive indoors, that the roots have no way of expanding in these little containers, and that they are only meant to be used once or twice. Now that may (or may not) be true, but I still dream of having a small-scale, windowsill garden, and the recent craze surrounding this topic didn’t help me to accept the fact that I suck at keeping plants alive. So, I gave it another try this year, but this time, I approached it like a real professional: my mother supplied the containers and the earth, my aunt sent me the seeds and instructions, and I did the honors of getting my hands dirty, ploughing my own tiny fields, and sowing the seeds.

Now, before I share with you the proof of my first ever gardening success, I have to share another short story that shows you just how big of a deal (one might say a personal victory) this is for me. As a present, I got a little can that was meant for growing mint. All you had to do, according to the instructions, was to open the lid, add water to the content, pull this little tab at the button to drain excess water, and voila, mint plants would flourish before you knew it. So, I open the can, only to find something resembling soil wrapped in plastic. Well, I figure, maybe it’s the kind of plastic that dissolves when you put it in water, like those new nifty dishwasher tablets. So I poor water on it, wait for the can to fill up, and have water squirting out at all ends. Ok, so it’s not dissolving plastic. Maybe the plastic is supposed to be in there? I try cutting the top open, poor water on it again, but now, the excess water doesn’t drip through the plastic and out the bottom, but comes right up, out of the can, taking the soil with it. Not good. Next, I emptied the content of the can in another bowl, only to find the official opening of the plastic bag all the way at the bottom. Ok, my bet. So the soil comes out, goes back into the can, more water on top, and I’m ready to see little mint seeds sprout! A few days later, I share the story of my struggle with the mint plant, and my assumed victory, with my mother, who then asks: “So you did add the seeds, right?” Wait, what? Seeds? The instructions said nothing about adding seeds! It’s not that i don’t know that plants grow from seeds, but i had just assumed they were already included in the soil. Apparently there was a little silver bag with seeds, which I still swear wasn’t included in my can (although I do admit there is a slight change I mistook it for one of those moisture absorbing dry-packs and tossed it out first thing). Bottom line, I would have been waiting forever in vain for my mint plant…

Stage One: It Grows!

Stage One: It Grows!

After this little growing mishap, I was extra determined to make my next green project succeed. So I sowed regular lettuce, arugula, and radish seeds, and planted parsley, mint, and basil herb plants. After a tens week or so, the first little green sprouts appeared, and it was (mainly) uphill from there!

Stage Two: Panic! It's Dying

Stage Two: Oh oh, It’s Dying

Last week, we had our first dinner prepared with windowsill ingredients (combined with homegrown sprouts, which is, in my opinion, pretty much fool-proof farming, and highly recommended!). A simple salad with arugula, lettuce, sprouts, and basil, topped with some olive oil and crumbled feta.

Although I’m still not convinced about my own gardening skills, I am very happy that the fresh herb curse seems to be lifted. It is nice to be able to eat something right out of your own garden, or from your own windowsill in this case. It takes little effort, and in these amounts, little resources too. If you know people who can spare some seeds (and/or soil), it will save you a few bucks on groceries, and you’ll have the satisfaction of being a teeny-tiny bit more self-sufficient. And, of course, you will be all the rage and incredibly hip. Also very important.

If you have any gardening secrets you don’t mind sharing with us, we’d love to hear them, just leave a comment below!

Stage Four: Ready to Harvest

Windowsill Gardening

Salad is Served

Salad is Served

2 Responses to “Dinner from the Windowsill”
  1. xwaysseries says:

    It is great to eat right from your garden. I get enough watching my first tomatoes growing! 🙂

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