This time of year is such a tease when you live in Upstate New York. One day it will be drizzly and 38, a few days later you’ll get some 65 and sunny weather that will lull you into dragging out your shorts. Then next thing you know *bam* back to the low 30’s and you’re in a sweater and jeans.
Those warm days almost fool you into thinking you could get started in the garden. But they lie. It’s far too cold and wet still. But that’s ok, there is a way around it!
This spring Walmart has a couple of “hacks” they want to share with customers–how to organize under your sink, how to decorate your table for Easter and how to plant a container herb garden. They asked all of us Walmart Moms to chose one of the topics and give it our own spin. You all know I couldn’t resist the gardening one!
Every year I plant a rather extensive herb garden right off our back deck up along the house. You really just have to take a couple steps from the kitchen door and you can be snipping fresh herbs. Lovage, sage, thyme, oregano, chives, parsley, stevia, borage, peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, lemongrass. . . pretty much anything you could want herb wise that will grow in our climate is out there in a pot.
Unfortunately that fickle weather I was mentioning keeps me from actually doing anything out there to show you. We might have snow later this week according to the weather forecast and that would just FRY any of the tender herbs. Plus my Walmart doesn’t even have plant seedlings in the store yet–we don’t usually plant things out until Memorial Day around here. Seriously. If it isn’t peas, kale, spinach or lettuce, it’s not going in the ground until the end of May.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t grow herbs!
That’s right, why not have a few herbs indoors to use in my cooking for now but can plant out in my big planters come true spring? I headed out to my local Walmart to see what I could find in their lawn and garden selection. I picked up some soil (I really should have gotten potting soil–but I was grabbing seed starting mix to, well, start seeds) some herb seeds and a really cute planter. Don’t you just love the little chalkboards?
Now, this planter would actually be a poor choice if I wanted to keep my herbs alive indoors year round. The pots are really small. Small pot means a small amount of soil–which means there is not much ability to retain water. So when you plant into little planters like this, you have to water frequently. To keep herbs alive indoors long term I’d want something like a 4-6 inch pot and I’d use really potting soil to help with moisture retention so I wouldn’t have to water daily.
The next step is actually to start the seeds. I recently did an entire post on How to Start Seeds–so you can pop on over there to get the whole gist of it. Here’s the thing though. . . doing a blog post with planters that basically just look like they are full of soil isn’t very impressive. As I mentioned before my Walmart doesn’t have any spring garden plants in stock yet (I frequently buy my herbs as seedlings instead of starting from seed–except for cilantro and basil. . . those grow like weeds for me). So here’s a trick. Did you know most Walmarts carry potted herbs in the grocery department, up front by the fruits and salad greens?
That’s right! Live, organic herbs for under $3 a pot. I picked up rosemary, mint and basil. They were just the right size to fit down into the pots–I didn’t even have to use any of the soil I purchased.
They look so fresh and fun, and with a bit of daily watering and care I can keep them healthy for a couple of months until it’s time to plant them out in the backyard container herb garden. In the meantime, I can clip off a bit of rosemary, mint or basil to add some fresh herb flare to my cooking.