Royal pageantry, forces of nature, terrorist show-downs. What, these days, is truly lasting? Fresh herbs are likely last on your longevity list. Until a few months ago, I would be right there with you.
Then I discovered How Not To Kill Your Potted Herb. See, I’m that person who manages to kill those shade-only-don’t-even-bother-to-water plants.
I agree with many of you out there, disheartened by recipes calling for “fresh herbs”. Yes, the grocery stores often charge over $2 for a small pre-cut portion that withers in days. $2 isn’t a lot of money, but when you can nearly buy a loaf of bread for a tablespoon of a one-use ingredient, I see your hesitation.
Then there is the magic of herbs to consider. Besides nutritional and aesthetic contributions, herbs are a special sprinkling that enhance all your other ingredients. Personally, I love chives, cilantro, mint, basil. And I’m thrilled to pieces that I can finally have them on hand and enjoy them for free. From my single you-call-this-direct-sunlight window.
All this time I thought it was a lighting thing; I think I was just drowning and molding my herbs by incorrect watering. Combining tidbits of advice from farmers and gardeners to whom I’ve
complained conversed regarding my ever-dying herb dilemma, I think I have the Secret to Life for all of us.
Please note: I am not, and do not claim to know/understand/explain the science of potted plants. I am only repeating conversational advice, successfully trial-tested in our wee apartment. I am not an expert; see innocent cactus casualties above.
How Not to Kill Your Herbs
1. Keep your plants in those dinky plastic liners (you can always cut off the top inch or so to hide it in your more attractive pot). A garden-nursery fellow explained how this allows plants to drink and drain best, and that ceramic tends to suffocate roots. I plop all of my plastic-potted plants into cute ceramic planters (the homes of succulents-gone-by). This makes step No. 2 much easier.
2. Water your herbs from the roots. Looking for more versatile ways to enjoy that ceramic brie baker? It it ideal in size and depth to water your herbs. Simply lift your herb—in its plastic shell—out of adorable pot and place into a very shallow dish of water. Let it sit there all day while you’re at work, overnight or whatever. I’m always surprised how thirsty my basil is. I simply rotate my herbs through a refilled water bath once every 1-2 days.
3. Keep your herbs in a bright, sunny place. Not as many bugs find them on the inside of the windowsill (though I keep a small mason jar of white vinegar beside my plants, it always shoos visiting fruit flies).
It’s really that easy. These might be obvious basics (or laughable inaccuracies) to experienced readers, but dozens of dead plants have forced me to change my methods. Nearly three years and success at last!
A potted herb, whether from the farmer’s market or grocery store, is rarely $1 more than pre-packaged herbs in the produce department. A minute investment, fulfilling without doubt! Here is my favorite mint recipe, and you can click here for other herbal inspirations on A Pear to Remember.
Please share any life-sustaining secrets from your garden, and let me know if this is helpful!
P.S. If you have not already, check out the new (more amusing??) About Lindsey.