A Beginner’s Herb Garden
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: How
Noise Impacts Your Health
Gardening is a hot topic this week on MDA. Two
days ago, Mark gave you the whys – gardening can be therapeutic,
it can improve health markers, it can be a great way for people
frequently at a slow pace, and the list goes on. It's also a
great way to save money on organic
produce, to maintain a constant (and self-replicating) supply
green things, and to get out into the sun. Let's just say that
gardening is good for you on multiple levels, and if you've got
the space and the time, you should probably give it a shot.
You might recall that in that same post, Mark mentioned his relative
lack of horticultural mastery. This is true for me, too, and a lot
of you guys out there as well. You might say that this Worker Bee
doesn't fly far from the hive. Still, I didn't let that discourage
me when the queen (er, king? I'm struggling to maintain the bee
metaphor here without tripping over gender issues!) bee tasked me
with starting a rudimentary herb garden and then writing about it.
I didn't want to crash and burn, so I kept things simple
with a small selection of basic but essential herbs.
Sweet basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and spearmint. Sure,
they aren't as fancy or impressive as heirloom tomatoes, Finnish
gooseberries, or white asparagus, but they are a nice assortment
of herbs that can conceivably be used every day of the week in a
multitude of dishes. And besides, what's worse than buying a two
dollar sprig of rosemary every time you want to cook lamb?
Also, if you don't have the space for a full-on vegetable garden,
a few essential herbs in pots are a good compromise. The time required
is minimal, the effort is almost nonexistent, and if they wither
and die, they're just herbs – not kids, pets, or heirloom tomatoes
or anything you've put real time and money into.
I also went for young potted plants from Trader Joe's. Yeah, yeah,
it's not sexy and I may have to turn in my Primal Cred card, but
I'm a beginner, a true neophyte, and I wanted to chronicle the simplest
course forward for someone like me interested in growing some herbs.
Realistically, a beginner with a busy schedule is going to start
from pots. If I started from seeds or cuttings and got nowhere,
how interesting would that be? In future cycles, I think I'll start
from seeds or cuttings, and hopefully we can get that up on MDA,
too, but for now, I'm going potted.
I opted to keep my herbs outdoors for a couple reasons. First,
cats would decimate them. For a couple of obligate carnivores
species-appropriate prey model diet, these jerks sure do love
chewing on vegetation. Plus, it seems like half the plant world
is toxic to felines, so I'm going to play it safe and keep the plants
outdoors. Secondly, outside air and natural sunlight – even the
spotty coastal variety – are best. Indoor herbs can sometimes get
powdery white mildew, due to humid, staid indoor air, and I question
the ultimate efficacy of UV-B filtered sunlight (most, if not all,
windows block the bulk of UV-B rays) and basic indoor lights (although
it is SF and the resources are definitely available, I won't be
rigging up any massive grow lights). Also, I just prefer the romantic
notion of growing outdoors. If things get dicey outdoors, I can
always move them inside for a spell.
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April 26, 2011
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