Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spicing up the Kitchen

Micki Bare herb garden
My humble indoor herb garden.
In the past, I attempted several times to grow herbs in my kitchen. I also tried keeping live plants in my house. It never worked out. I've killed more seedlings and plants than Roundup. My intentions were always the highest. My attentions, however, were lacking. I'd spend an entire Saturday potting herbs to grow near my kitchen window or selecting hearty houseplants at the garden store. But then I would become busy with work, kids and trying to fit in at least one load of laundry so I wouldn't have to head to the office commando. A couple of weeks later, I'd remember the plants. But by then, it was too late. The plant carcasses were withered beyond recognition and partially fused to the dried dirt.

Now that I am home full time, I decided to give indoor greenery another go. A couple of weeks into my new SAHM career, I planted the seeds. It was still the holiday season and I should have been cooking, cleaning, buying and wrapping. Instead, I chose to take a break. Actually, what really happened was I broke a gift I bought for someone else. It was a terra cotta, multi-level kitchen herb garden kit. But it was making a weird jingling noise when I tried to wrap it. Also, some dried, loamy dirt was dripping out of the corner of the box. The dirt splattered all over my wrapping paper.

Rather than get frustrated, I decided to stop wrapping presents and open the box. One of the terra cotta pots was completely smashed, as if someone threw the box in the trunk of a car and then dropped a blender on top of it while hurriedly gift shopping on a particularly cold day. Rather than take it back or pretend it broke when the intended giftee was unwrapping it, I chose instead to use it. The scissors, ribbon, tape and dirt-speckled wrapping paper were left sitting on my dining room table while I opened up seed packets and watered peat pellets.

As we rang in the New Year, my seeds were bursting forth. About two weeks into January, I was thinning and repotting. Along with the seedlings, I planted glass water globes. Not only are the globes pretty, but they help me keep my crops appropriately watered.

Live Spice Rack
Ultimate Spice Rack
As we move into February, my seedlings are still going strong. I was so very proud of my indoor, live spice rack. That is, until I happened across a picture of the ultimate kitchen spice rack in my Facebook newsfeed. And while the ultimate version is grandiose and certainly a best-case scenario, upon further investigation I found that it was a display in a cabinet and appliance store. Anyone can grow the perfect wall of herbs with skylights, plenty of shelving and a staff of associates keeping up with water and fertilizer as part of their daily work duties.

My little window garden is not all that bad considering my limited space and resources. Upon further thought, I am proud of my live spice rack. I'm looking forward to watching it mature and maybe even adding to it. I may never have an entire wall of herb plants growing in my kitchen, but then again, I'm not trying to sell appliances and cabinets.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

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