Sunday, January 30, 2011

Starting an Herb Garden

Starting an herb garden was always on my list, but I didn't anticipate getting started on it as early as I did. A few weeks ago, Ben and I went into Frager's Hardware down on Pennsylvania SE. If you haven't been there, you should really check it out. Taking up at least four row house store fronts, this old-fashioned hardware store is full of windy aisles that have everything you would expect a hardware store to have, but much, much more (single cup coffee brewers, paint, and desk lamps).

We went to get a few keys copied and buy some picture hangers, but I couldn't help but think of The List when I passed a huge display of seeds. There were sooo many, and I was feeling inspired. So, I asked someone for advice and they directed me to the garden manager and resident horticulturist (I feel horribly that I don't remember her name, but she is great). She gave me very detailed, and somewhat confusing steps on how to start an herb garden. And, she may have potentially talked me into container gardening as well- although that's an ambitious plan...

I was so excited about planting the seeds that I started as soon as I got home. I followed her instructions, as much as I could remember. She suggested I buy these little planting pods which start as little disks in a netting case. You place them in a shallow glass pan and pour warm water into the pan. They puff op about an inch or so and then you plant the seeds inside of them. She suggested that I plant three seed in each pod- to make sure one of them makes it.

The problem with some of the seeds is that they are SO SMALL that is seemingly impossible to plant them. I had to resort to using a tweezers to grab them and put them into the dirt- and to be honest, I don't even know if they all made it or if most of them were left on the tweezers or just on top of the dirt. It was a pretty frustrating process, especially with the smallest seeds.

I planted rosemary, coriander (i.e. cilantro), oregano, and thyme in the first planting (around January 10). I think I may have started a little too early, but at least I'll have another opportunity if these don't work out. Now, three weeks later, only three of the 11 pods have any sprouting, but one of them seems to be doing really well. The others, maybe a fail?

Here's how they're looking (look closely for the sprouts):

Beyond the planting, I've invested a lot of time and money into these little plants. The whole endevur (complete with a full-spectrum light bulb and gardening lamp) has cost me around $50 so far. Needless to say, I better stay committed.

I need to go back and see my friend at Frager's. I'm also on the prowl for a gardening club in DC, I need to surround myself with gardening gurus. Hmmmm...

More to come soon.

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