The fashionably late Ms. Rosemary

Rosemary sproutWell folks, she finally made an appearance. The herb garden is now home to a single sprout of rosemary! Oh, happy day! The rest of the herbs are doing well, although the oregano seems to be struggling a bit. I keep encouraging and praising them and hoping that one day I will be able to snip them off and use them in my homemade spaghetti sauce.

In other plant related news, my hubby is doing some research into LED grow lights. He is interested in getting one so that we can start some plants indoors in the spring for our vegetable garden. Gardening in Calgary is a tricky matter. The general rule of thumb I was taught as a kid, was that you waited until the May long weekend (which is around May 24th) to put your plants out. Even then, there can be a risk of snow, but at least things should be safe from the frost. So that leaves Calgary with a very short growing season. This coming spring/summer will be the first year that we have had a vegetable garden. Hubby built a raised garden bed in the fall and he has done a great deal of research into what type of veggies do best in our local climate. We are hoping that armed with an LED grow light, we can get certain plants started early. I’m thinking that this could also come in handy with the herb garden, to toughen up the sprouts a bit as we enter the short days of winter. I’ll keep you posted on the grow light progress. If anyone has used an LED variety, I’d love to hear about it. Happy growing!

Meow, meow

Catnip sproutI’ve been talking to my herb garden as often as I can remember, but things are have been pretty busy. Have no fear, it has been getting plenty of water and sunshine. I had basically given up on the rosemary and catnip, but was still feeling satisfied with my other three lovely herb companions. And then, “Surprise!” All of sudden there are THREE catnip sprouts! THREE! I’m so tickled! Of all the seeds I planted, the catnip was the one I had the most doubts about, but there they are. I tried to explain to Chloe why I was so excited and why she should be excited too, but I was met with a questioning look. Hopefully she gives the catnip sprouts some encouraging meows during the day.

The lonely tale of Mr. Sage and Mr. Thyme

Sage sproutWell, after letting more and more days pass without seeing any activity in the rosemary, oregano, and catnip pots, I’ve decided to add some fresh seeds to each of these and give them another go. I don’t really have a Plan B for the herb garden, but I have my dirt-covered fingers crossed that at least one of these will join my happy sage and thyme sprouts.

Speaking of which, the sage is looking lovely and healthy if not a bit odd in shape. Since I rotated the pot last week, they have curved completely in the other direction to follow the sunlight. I’m curious to see how they will shape themselves as I continue to turn their pot once a week. Oh, and how lovely, their itty-bitty leaves smell! I am truly enjoying my herb garden, even if only a couple of the plants are growing.

Good day Mr. Sage, hello Mr. Thyme

I have been saying hello to Mr. Sage everyday this week. He has returned the kindness by sprouting a couple more stems! It now appears that both types of sage that I planted have managed to grow. I’m not sure have very different they will be taste-wise, but the last time I had a herb garden, sage was one of the plants I wished I had more of to experiment in my cooking. Well, I’ve certainly got my wish!

Thyme sproutSo many people in the world wish for more thyme or maybe they wish for more “time”. In either case, I am happy to report that the thyme pot is no longer void of greenness. There are bunch of itty-bitty sprouts that have popped up, unfortunately all in one clump. I say “unfortunately” because I’m not sure that it’s such a good thing. I was hoping to have two or three separate thyme plants in the pot, but all the seeds I dropped in one hole seemed to have emerged. For now, I just keep cheering them all on.

There’s been no activity in the rosemary, oregano, or catnip pots. I’m not too sure how long I should wait before I decide re-try those. The catnip feels like it was a bit of a long shot, but I would happily give it another try. I have noticed how much my little sage and thyme sprouts reach towards the window for the sunlight and I’m still trying to decide if they are in the best spot or not. Obviously they are getting sunshine, but they sure do seem to want more. I think I will rotate the pots around, which should help straighten the sprouts up a bit.

This little herb garden of mine

Towards the beginning of September I finally got the gumption to plant an indoor herb garden. I’ve been slowly (oh, so slowly) collecting the seeds and pots. The supplies weren’t the real hang up for finally planting the garden though. Since we moved into our house about a year and half ago, I’d been a bit stumped as to where I should put the herb garden. Sure we get plenty of light, Calgary after all is one of the sunniest cities in Canada. It was more that I had been greatly spoiled by our old apartment in B.C., which had wide windowsills that could happily accommodate potted plants. No such luck in our house though, and so each time I thought about getting out the bag of soil and seed packs, I had to face the “small” issue of where the pots would go once filled.

Sure I could put up a small side table near the front window, but would the cat get into too much mischief with it there, seeing as she has claimed that area as her window to the world? Surely the kitchen would be the most appropriate and convenient spot for the herb garden, but with only one north facing window with a sink below, how would it work in there? Perhaps the office or sewing room could play house to the garden? I nix the sewing room idea as soon as I’ve had it. There’s just too much stuff on the go in there already. The office is not too full, but that’s because we still haven’t finished painting and getting things more permanently set-up in there. It is starting to become the “stuff-it-in-there-for-the-time-being-room” and will surely become full soon. So the herb garden is more likely to become buried behind miscellaneous bits in there. — At this point I’ve made my house sound a mess, but it’s not really. We’ve just managed to ignore a couple of rooms since moving in, as one tends to do once you get caught up in the daily routine. — And so I was back to considering the big front window, with its eastern exposure and beams of morning sunshine.

Pot of thymeI finally wake up one September day and think, “Alight, today I’m planting that darn herb garden that I’ve been thinking about so much, and then let slide off the to-do list too often.” I drag out the soil, the pots, the seeds, and trowel, and that’s when I start to doubt myself. “I’ve never really planted anything from seed before (I know, it’s hard to believe). Do I really know what I’m doing, or should I be reading about planting from seed before I do this?” And so the questions start to flow, but then I think, honestly, what’s the worse thing that could happen? They don’t grow. Fine, then I’d just try again. See, simple. So I grab the trowel and loving scoop and scatter and water, until I’ve got my five things planted: sage (two different kinds actually), rosemary, oregano, thyme, and catnip (yes, must have something for miss kitty in there). Now the defining moment of where should these lovelies live? I grab a folding TV dinner-style table and set it up below the front window. “Below” being the key word here as the table is not nearly tall enough and the plants sit well below the windowsill. Hhmmph. Well. It will just have to do, I tell myself.

As the days continue to past and I wait expectantly for something to sprout forth, we experience the rainiest and darkest September in recorded history (that’s not an official statistic, but I can’t remember a September like this before). I start to worry about the success of those little seeds, but one random morning, as I sit crocheting on the couch (still recovering from surgery) a patch of sunshine peaks through the window. I sit and watch it move across the living room and see all the spots that it reaches, and watch as it sadly, misses my herb garden that is perched just in the shade of the window. I put my crochet hook down and scoot some things around in the living room (just a rocking chair and big potted plant, in case you’re worried that I’m lifting couches when I shouldn’t be). I take all the pots off the side table, re-position the table near the television, and place the pots back on. Viola! A sunny spot for the herb garden.

Sage sproutA couple weeks still pass before I see any activity in the pots, but I don’t give up hope. The sun comes out more and more towards the end of September and by the beginning of October, we are finally having a lovely “summer” (yes, our actual summer months were truly crappy). And then it happens. I come home from work and plunk myself down on the couch for a few quiet minutes, when I glance over at the herb garden. There, a speck of green is peeking out. I jump up and peer into the pot. Mr. Sage has decided to make an appearance! Thank you lovely sunshine for finally coaxing them out of their dirt home.

Perhaps Mr. Sage will be able to convince some of his companions to join him. Until then, I wait patiently knowing that at least I managed to grow one thing from seed and many, many weeks from now I will be using fresh sage in my cooking. Oh, how I have missed having an herb garden!