It’s two days until the beginning of spring! You know what that means? Time to dig up the seed packets from the depths of your cupboard or better yet, head to the local gardening centre to do some seed shopping. Those of us without a real big ass garden can still take advantage of the joys of getting our hands dirty. Growing herbs (and some vegetables!) indoors or on a balcony/patio requires less skill and “green fingers” than we’ve been led to believe.
Winters in Finland are long, mostly snow filled and freezing cold, nevertheless, I started sowing the first seeds on my windowsill in mid February. Of course, do read the packaging info carefully to get an idea when to start growing what in the part of the world you’re at. Most of the time there’s also instructions on how deep in the soil the seeds should be put (can vary greatly from plant to plant), how much water and sunlight is required, to which heights you can expect the seedling to grow and the months of harvest.
My grandma always says, sow seeds during the new moon. I have never researched whether there’s any truth to it, but try to follow her words of wisdom. She has been gardening for decades, so must know best, right?!?
Personally, I’m more of a trial and error kind of gal and therefore tend to trust in experience rather than gardening books. Some observations I’ve made over the years are that dill needs well draining sandy soil, basil is hyper sensitive to over watering, never have I succeeded in growing rosemary from seed, lemon balm takes ages getting anywhere, germination can easily take up to two weeks and all herbs need some help in the face of a fertiliser (I use Baby Bio Herb Food).
Apart from seeds, all you really need is soil (readily available in most supermarkets), a trowel, small flower pots, tin cans or any other type of recycled packaging that doesn’t fall apart in coming to contact with water, ice cream and/or BBQ sticks, gardening string, a watering can and a pair of pretty gloves if worried about your manicure.
This year I’ve decided to grow mostly herbs for my culinary adventures and teas, as well as edible flowers to brighten salads and cakes. Previously I have also experimented with kale, cherry tomatoes and strawberries, the first two of which were a great success, but sadly the strawberries never came into being.
Here’s a list of my balcony garden ambitions for 2018:
- Parsley (both flat and curly leaf)
- Cinnamon basil
- Lemon balm
There are SO many fascinating seeds available nowadays, both heirloom and hybrid, that curating your garden can become a wonderfully creative project. Feeling inspired? What will you grow?