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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

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The backstory is that Steve and I moved just as the pandemic struck the U.S. and everything began to shut down around us. Given that he is a cancer survivor and over a certain age that put him at high risk. But we still had to daily get from point A to point B, continue (luckily) to work from home, pack a mammoth amount of stuff (mostly books), navigate in a necessarily socially distant world … and try not to confuse shortness of breath due to anxiety with shortness of breath due to the virus.

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lemon verbena

We made our way into our new home where I immediately began ordering bookcases because neither of us realized that between our two book collections we could probably start our own bookstore. The previous owner had built out the interior of the home wonderfully but the back yard … hmmm … three plus months later we’re still waiting on a contractor to come in with a caterpillar to remove debris and put down loam and on and on … and all of that stuff takes time!

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thyme

Now I tend to come across as a rather calm person but I can be as anxious as any other human and one of the coping mechanisms I have found in my life is gardening. Probably goes back to childhood in Virginia being in the vegetable garden with my dad and helping my mother plant the flowers. Anyway in a time of such great chaos on so many fronts I was determined to have a garden. Steve’s only request was to plant tomatoes and basil.

tomatoes

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lemon basil

mints

spearmint and orange mint

We’ve managed to do that and a bit more. The neighbors must think I’m crazy because I’m outside almost everyday to peek at the garden and take photos, and even Steve has gotten into the habit of asking me each morning, “How’s the garden doing?” I’ve forced him … I mean invited him … to put so much hard work into it that even now he owns it.

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There is no rhyme or reason to the garden though I tried to be thoughtful at first. Keeping in mind pollinators. Keeping in mind bee-friendly. Keeping in mind full-sun, part-shade. Keeping in mind natural pest control. It became too much in this time. I just planted what would fit and tried to err on the side of edibility. The contractor is supposed to come next week. We’ll see … Chaos is still all around … in our personal lives, in the global realm … but for now there feels like space to breathe and to think and to consider planning. DSCN0515

I don’t feel like planning into the distant future right now but I can think about the seasons and what we might plant now to harvest in the fall and what we might plant now that will pop up in the spring. I think that’s good enough for now. 🙂

 

 

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It’s fun (and occasionally frustrating) figuring out  as a photographer and as a gardener how to work with light. Given the state of the yard in the new place I don’t expect an outdoor garden to come into being anytime soon but I’ve been hell-bent on creating a new lush indoor herb garden. Okay, doesn’t have to be lush … just healthy and useful.

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I’m trying to experiment with a few new items especially edible flowers but for the most part it is the canonical basil, oregano, marjoram, tarragon, and rosemary. Last night I took a certain chef on a tour of the evolving herb garden. He asked what was he cooking for dinner and I said, “Hmmm. Chicken with herbs, garlic and lemon.” He harvested what he needed. As he walked away with a handful of green he turned back to say, “Do you think you can plant more tarragon? I love working with tarragon.” Not a problem.

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A new space with new angles of light presenting new opportunities for indoor gardening.

 

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Lemon thyme to add to my indoor garden.

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Actually it is not so much that the roots are submerged as they have emerged. After a certain person picked basil leaves to make some pesto, I took the mostly bare stems and placed them in water next to a window. There were just enough leaves left to absorb the light and spark some root growth.

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My indoor garden is so chaotic and I love it.

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What a crazy year, and I don’t just mean in world politics. I think each year I write about the chaos of my indoor garden but this year it is super chaotic. And that’s okay. The leaves still catch the light beautifully. 🙂

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savory

A chaotic growing season for me, I have to say. Some years I’ve had grand plans for what I intend to grow, where and in what vessel. Sometimes I’ve tried to find an organizing theme, like growing edible flowers … although I was reminded by my taste testers that year just because a flower is edible doesn’t mean it tastes good. One year I found potatoes sprouting in a pantry drawer and that set me off on a journey to grow potatoes indoors using methods my dad taught me for growing potatoes outside. This year gardening has been less an adventure and more like a solace and an anchor. A way to be alone with one’s thoughts, work with one’s hands, and all that good stuff.

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orange mint, tarragon, fennel, parsley

I’m not so worried about everything looking pretty. I want functionality … a certain chef has got to have his herbs to cook with, and since I benefit from his experiments, I decided this season to focus on basics like parsley, sage, tarragon, thyme, oregano, marjoram and rosemary. Savory was a new one for me. Delicious. I turned away from the beauty of dill because I always kill it. I did pick up a mint for its hardiness. I keep thinking about lavender.

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The biggest surprise has been the nasturtium. They popped up out of nowhere. I recycle dirt, and after I had planted some tarragon with some old dirt, up comes some nasturtium sprouts! I need to move them to a new spot because the oak tree, now in full foliage, is blocking the light. And in the midst of all this chaotic green, I now have two hot pink geranium as well. That’s what happens when you make a nine-year old put down the iphone, walk with you to the flower market and before you can say, “edibles only,” the flower market owner bends down and says, “Well, hello! What’s your favorite color?” As a non-edible, I’ve tucked the hot pinks away in a little nook where the sun can find them but not a certain chef.

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colors in the kitchen as the sun starts to sink

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