As summer is coming to an end, I thought I might post about my success (and failure) at growing my own herbs in this little studio of mine in the city. I always thought that it wouldn’t be possible to do in this climate, but with the price of fresh herbs being crazy in this country, I thought it best to actually try and see how successful it could be. To begin with, I chose a selection of herbs that could last the summer and maybe longer and also ones that I used on a regular basis in my cooking.
It actually all started with a pot of basil that I bought at the local supermarket (Sainsburys, for those fellow UK dwellers). They usually die soon after I have used all the leaves, but on one occasion I noticed that it continued to grow, even whilst sitting in the original small pot that it comes in. So I bought some soil and a larger pot and replanted it and it thrived on my window sill in the summer sun that we were lucky enough to get this year!
So after this success, I decided to go down to the local nursery and buy some more herbs. I settled on oregano, chives, parsley, stevia, thyme and some catnip for my little fluffy boy :). I also got a tomato plant and a strawberry plant. I planted in a long rectangular window box the chives, stevia, strawberry, parsley and oregano.
However this picture was taken after the parsley and strawberries hopelessly died! Now, I have, by no means, a green thumb, (I grew up on a cattle station, as funny as that may seem for a vegan! So I was never taught really how to grow plants) so perhaps someone else could tell me why they didn’t work out. Those that DID work, however, were the stevia, oregano, chives and thyme. The catnip probably would have been fine if it were not for my over-zealous kitty cat who devoured the plant in one afternoon.
Check out the mega cheekiness of this little guy… Once the catnip was gone, he started on the basil!
As for the tomato, I managed to get quite a few big and juicy ones before the sun and heat subsided and they were lovely in my salads and pasta dishes.
The real surprise for me was the stevia. Such an amazing plant! I could not believe how sweet these little leaves were! I have yet to dry them and crush them for my sugar replacement, but for now I’ve been adding a leaf or two to my tea and cold drinks for a burst of sweetness.
I highly recommend growing your own stevia, you’ll be amazed at how well it grows and how sweet it is. As for the basil, which is by far my favourite herb – I decided to make some cuttings and re-plant them as they were growing so well in the heat of this little studio. To do this, I cut a few long stems from the basil plant and allowed them to sit in a glass of water for a week until they started to grow roots.
Once they had some lovely roots growing from the bottom, I planted them next to the stevia and chives and they flourished! It’s so wonderful to be able to just pick off the leaves and use them in my recipes, especially on pizzas, pasta and salads.
This is just one of them here, next to the thyme. Obviously it would be better to plant them next to each other in a larger pot, but this was just the first test run – and it grew SO fast! Of course, the best thing to do with your own basil? Vegan pesto! Check out my recipe here.