Thursday, February 4, 2010
The sweet scent of fresh basil snipped for my lunch is a delightful summer smell in the middle of cold, gray February day. I love having pots of fresh herbs growing in the window during the winter.
Here's a few tips for keeping herbs happy....
1. Light. Lots and lots and lots of light. The herbs I love, basil, rosemary, lavendar, thyme, and oregano, all love the sun. When I remember how they thrive under our brutal Texas summer sun, I know they'll love being in the south window all winter. If the plants look sorched, move them to a place with less direct sun.
2. Water. Just a bit. Not too much. I love my indoor plants to death sometimes by overwatering. During the summer, potted outside, these herbs are thirsty all the time. Indoors, they need a drink once a week. One thing that makes the plants really happy...when we clean out the fish tank. Wow, the plants love fish water.
3. Warm. Even placed in the sunny window, these plants get cold. We had a cold snap several days in length in which the outside temps didn't get above freezing. I scooted every pot away from the window an extra foot. Still in the path of the elusive winter sun, but far enough away that the cold soaking through the double paned glass couldn't touch them.
4. Snip. The joy of indoor herb plants is using them in your cooking. I hope it makes the plant feel loved and useful, too. Mine certainly seem to respond with more growth after I take a leaf or two.
If you don't have a pot of basil or rosemary in the window, grab a bunch the next time you are at the grocery store. Nothing smells like summer like fresh herbs on your pizza. And the taste! Very worth while.
I found these two pieces of writing about basil....
Pounding fragrant things -- particularly garlic, basil, parsley -- is a tremendous antidote to depression. But it applies also to juniper berries, coriander seeds and the grilled fruits of the chilli pepper. Pounding these things produces an alteration in one's being -- from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure. The cheering effects of herbs and alliums cannot be too often reiterated. Virgil's appetite was probably improved equally by pounding garlic as by eating it.”Patience Gray, cookery author
And a bit of poetic writing.....
And she forgot the stars, the moon, and sun,
And she forgot the blue above the trees,
And she forgot the dells where waters run,
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;
She had no knowledge when the day was done,
And the new morn she saw not:
but in peace
Hung over her sweet Basil evermore,
And moistened it with tears unto the core.
-Keats,John Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes and Other Poems, 'Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil', stanza 53. (formatting mine)