I am just one gardener in an ancient chain that practices the time-honored tradition of herb pot gardening. What’s growing now on my windowsill? A quartet of fragrant herbs in a long pot to intertwine and become luxuriously full and green: piney rosemary, delicate lemon balm, robust basil and sweet mint.
I read somewhere that fresh herbs contain a higher concentrations of antioxidants than leafy greens. This caught my eye because I’m always looking for ways to fit healthier food into my meals. I don’t have anything against spinach and kale, but herbs taste so much better and smell delicious!
I learned that lemon balm has “furry” leaves (see photo at right). To me it smells of lemon verbena soap and tastes like lemon drops. Along with mint it adds an unexpected, almost sweet element to salads. Fresh basil makes the best pesto, and there is nothing like the strong flavor of rosemary to compliment hot, juicy roasted chicken.
Most herbs flourish easily indoors year round, requiring only a few (but key!) things: a window with six or more hours of daily sunlight, well draining potting soil (I like Miracle Grow), a chance to dry out a bit between waterings, having their flower buds pinched off and occasional fertilizing (over fertilizing causes rapid growth that is virtually tasteless). Harvesting their leaves and sprigs actually promotes new growth.
Ahhh, fresh herbs within arm’s reach. Definitely one of life’s simple pleasures!