Tuesday, September 15, 2009
How Does Your Garden Grow?
When I developed an interest in the culinary arts, I quickly realized that fresh herbs were essential, yet hard to come by and expensive.
Grams lives in South Texas, home of H-E-B Grocery Stores. While I really like shopping at some H-E-B Stores, especially their Central Markets, I'm not a fan of my local store. This store leaves a lot to be desired. I dislike the Calallen store so much that I drive 22 miles each direction to shop at an H-E-B Plus Store. Specifically, they don't stock many of the items that recipes call for. And don't even get me started on the quality of their produce. When I recently approached them about stocking Greek yogurt, which I eat almost daily, their response was that they would be happy to order it for me if I would buy the entire case. Seriously? A case of Greek yogurt?
On the up side, trekking 22 miles to the grocery store forces me to be organized and to plan ahead so as to limit my drives across town. On the down side, it severely limits my access to such short-lived items as fresh herbs.
I've always puttered in the yard in the spring and early summer. I grow beautiful roses and have a gorgeous succulent garden. But once the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, I'm done with gardening. I just don't like to be outside when it's that hot.
For the past several years I have tried, with very limited success, to grow my own herbs. I planted some in between my roses and some in a separate bed in the back yard. This year has been particularly hard because we've had the worst summer on record, more than 35 days of temperatures over 95 degrees and zero rainfall for months. Our yard is decimated. There is very little grass left and it will take a long time for it to recover. But it did finally rain. We've had about 7.5 inches in the last week.
I found a great location for growing my herbs. This summer, I planted them in pots along the front sidewalk. This puts them in the shade under our big oak tree. They get very little full sun, but they've done beautifully there. (The accompanying photo was taken at noon on a very sunny day.) I've had fresh basil, thyme, chives, parsley, spearmint and peppermint all summer. The only thing I planted there that didn't thrive was dill. I'll try another location for that next spring.
This access to fresh herbs makes it even more fun to cook something up in the kitchen so I can say "Grams Made It."