What is it about balance, the great equalizer, that makes it so circumspect a teacher? In life I have always had a tendency to go overboard on things… not dangerously or nuttily so (hopefully!) but if I decide that nothing beats peach ice cream, well, three or four pounds of that stuff might make it into the shopping basket! Which is where I find myself now: having discovered all of a sudden that there IS a corner fit to raise a few plants in the confines of my current tiny living space, I proceeded to buy about seven pots and plant all sorts of seeds that I’ve collected over the past few years while waiting for a spot to garden again.
I was feeling a little guilty about taking up so much available real estate with pots. However, so busy was I watching the pretty little seedlings push up out of the soil and grow stouter and sturdier with each passing day that I neglected to notice that my kittens are also growing each day, and getting into more and more mischief along the way. So it was that the other night there occurred a tragic plant homicidal incident that I knew was coming somewhere in the back of my head. The kittens, having recently discovered the joy of heights, have taken to sleeping in my plant pots, tipping them wantonly, and chewing off the young greens. Every morning, I awake to a new field of floral carnage and (literally!) soiled carpet. My plants have become refugees in their own biosphere, moving every few hours to places where they can be guarded against feline attack. One kitten in particular has decided that nothing beats an aromatherapy nap in my basil, rosemary, and mint, and all three are currently trying to adjust to the daily stomp-down. Not that I blame him, it DOES smell good there! But at least it forced me to redecide on an appropriate amount of space to devote to growing, since several pots required replanting or retirement. Ah, balance, the great teacher.
Growing an herb garden is shockingly easy, as herbs generally tolerate spottier care than other plants and they smell so wonderful along the way. Of course, each has its own desired care prescription (planting mint, a water lover, and sage or lavender (drought lovers) together in the same pot might not be the best idea, unless you like seriously wilted sage!), and likes differing amounts of light. But in general, all will stand up to more abuse than a “pretty flower” plant. (If your growing conditions are seriously strenuous, consider cactus gardening. Mine have survived and even thrived in trying conditions, and they require little to no water except when flowering.) An added bonus of a kitchen garden is that fewer pests will be able to find your tender plants and unleash their destructive forces. Of course, as I’ve found, you might have bigger pests to deal with! Also, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh herbs for cooking year-round. Basil, mint, lavender, wild strawberries, rosemary, ginger, and garlic are reliable performers for the beginning gardener. To find out more about planting an herb garden, see the WikiHow article link in the gardening section of the links panel. In no time, you’ll be kicking those packaged 1500-mile-to-plate supermarket herbs to the curb.