Thursday, May 12, 2005


My Little Herb Garden

Love is an herb garden. That could be a starry-eyed metaphor, but what I actually mean is that I am brimming with pride over the little green shoots on my window sill.

A few weeks ago, on the way to a kegger in Santa Monica (oh how I wish I were kidding about that) we stopped at the perennially fantastic Fireside Market (oh, I'm sorry, its been Wild Oats for years now hasn't it? Well, call me old school, but it will always be Fireside to me.) on Montana Ave. to pick up some vodka, when I saw them calling out to me. Darling little packages of Botanical Interest brand organic seeds, adorned with really beautiful artwork, right there by the check out. I could not resist, sucker for packaging that I am. Luckily, there is much more to these beautiful little packets than just what was on the outside.

In my not-so-lucid state, I seem to have made quite the odd selection considering my limited window-sill space, yet, I am pleased as punch (giddy, really) that they have taken off so well. Because of my propensity towards fresh herbs in my cooking, and my typical gall at the prices Whole Foods and the like charge for such little bundles (and as much as I love farmers markets, they are pricey too), it is a relief to know that this summer (and hopefully beyond) I will have my own little patch of Thai Basil, Thyme, Greek Oregano, NuMex Chiles, Habenero Chiles, Black Krim Pole Tomatoes, Green Zebra Tomatoes, Chinese Garlic Chives, Thai Bird Chiles, Early Wonder Beets, PattyPan Squash, French Breakfast Radishes and Sugar Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes. (And just beacuase they are my favorite bits of sunshine I planted California Orange Poppies)

Having checked out the
Botanical Interest website and all of their culinarily delightful choices, I encourage you to seek some out too. What I loved so much is that they provide tons of really in-depth, helpful information, superior quality seeds AND recipes in each of the packets. (Hmm, I wonder if they need anyone for their test kitchen?) That and they are all organic and family owned. I do hope if you want to exercise that green thumb you will check them out! Obviously, I haven’t harvested anything quite yet, but so far, everything I planted has burst through and are greedily inching up towards the sunshine.

I will keep you posted on the progress of my own little kitchen garden, and as I am able to cook with my bounty, I will share the recipes.


More information on organic seed companies from Mother Earth News

Or visit:

The Burpee company was founded in Philadelphia in 1876. They are the largest seed company in America and developed Iceberg Lettuce.

Redwood City Seeds, founded in 1971, specializes in endangered cultivated plants

Or, the always fantastic nonprofit Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), the leading North American organization working to save heirloom garden seed, from extinction.

Any tips on keeping an herb garden growing? I bought a bunch of young plants a few weeks ago, and already they are in sad shape ... basil, garlic chives, rosemary, tarragon. More money down the drain. Pretty soon, I'm going to give up all together.
I used to be the same way, which is the reason I buy seeds and not small plants. They come with really specific directions on how to keep them growing. I've certainly killed my fair share of things too, because it can be work if you don't have optimum conditions, but normally its easy to remedy if you can figure out whats wrong. Try checking out the botanical interest site I link to in the post and see what they say, or check out It could be just overwatering or under, or a sunlight issue...don't give up yet, it's worth the effort! :-)
Hi...I am starting a herb garden too...It is my first time with herbs. Gots lots of learning ahead of me.
Don't overwater them :) And most herbs grow way too big for small pots/window areas & need huge buckets to grow in.

By the way, for insanely cheap herbs (in big bundles) - as well as very nice & cheap produce, Jon's markets (in LA) are the way to go (15-50cents per herb bunch, varies by season & availability). Whole Foods is nice and all, and so is Trader Joes, but both are overpriced for what they are (tiny bundles and sometimes so-so produce for 2-3x what it should be, if not more).
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