UPDATE: This giveaway is now over! Congratulations to Kerri Williams Ruth. Kerri has won a copy of Pioneering Today–Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, by Melissa K. Norris.
This week’s post is from blogger and author, Melissa K. Norris. She’ll give some great pointers on how to grow your own kitchen herbs, even if you don’t have the space for a garden. Be sure to read to the end for a great giveaway of Melissa’s book, Pioneering Today–Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way.
Grow Your Own Kitchen Herbs
By Melissa K. Norris
The Amish grow as much of their own food as possible. We also have a large vegetable garden, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and a mini-orchard. One of the things I related to in Cindy’s book, A Season of Tending, was Rhoda’s pleasure in her garden.
I believe that when we are still, away from the hustle and bustle of technology, we can feel God’s presence. It is stronger when there is no static or interference from man-made noise. I don’t feel it’s coincidence I feel closer to God while gardening and is my hope that everyone experiences this.
While I realize everyone can’t grow an extensive garden, everyone can have a small kitchen window sill herb garden. Cooking with fresh herbs is amazing. There is nothing like fresh basil on top of a homemade pizza. Plus, plants help clean the air in your home and herbs provide a lovely fragrance.
Here are my tips to help you begin your own kitchen herb garden.
1. Choose the herbs you cook with the most. Common choices for windowsill pots are basil, marjoram, rosemary, oregano, parsley, chives, and cilantro.
2. Decide whether you’re going to start from seed or purchase starts. Starting from seed is usually cheaper. I only use heirloom seeds and plants in my home when possible and growing my own starts allows me to control this. But, purchasing starts is faster, and often easier for beginning gardeners. If you have little ones, they love to help plant and watch the seeds sprout and grow into a plant.
3. Purchase soil and pots. You’ll need to plant your herbs in pots that allow sufficient drainage and room for root growth. I have an abundance of Mason jars and used my wide mouth antique jar as a planter. Because I didn’t want to damage the jar by putting in a drain hole, I had to line the bottom with some rocks and glass beads for air to circulate and water drainage.
4. Care and maintenance. Most herbs require little work. Keep the soil moist, but not soaking. When they become too big for their containers, you can repot them in bigger containers or plant outside for use in the summer months. Depending upon your climate, some herbs grow year round outside. Herbs require plenty of natural light, which a kitchen window sill usually provides.
5. Picking herbs. Each herb is slightly different on the harvest end. For basil, pick at the top of the stem, right above the junction of leaves and the stem. This allows new leaves to form, a bushier plant, and keeps it from flowering, which prolongs production. Cilantro should be snipped low on the stem. Rosemary should be cut with scissors or clippers.
6. Cooking with fresh herbs. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh. Use three times the amount of fresh herbs than dried in your recipes. For example, if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of parsley, you’ll want three teaspoons of chopped parsley. Cooking fresh herbs for a long time dilutes their flavor. It’s best to add fresh herbs towards the end of a dish.
For more information on gardening with heirloom plants and what the difference between heirloom, hybrid, and GMO plants are, download my free e-book, Heirloom Gardening Guide-Plant to Save Money.
If you haven’t read A Season for Tending, you’re in for a treat. It was the March book pick for Christian Fiction Book Club. Once we started, most people read it through in a few days because we simply couldn’t put it down. I’m already counting the days to begin The Winnowing Season.
Melissa K. Norris is a Christian novelist, newspaper columnist, and non-fiction writer. Her stories inspire people to draw closer to God and their pioneer roots. She’s a skilled artisan crafter, creating new traditions from old-time customs for her readers. She found her own little house in the big woods, where she lives with her husband and two children in the Cascade Mountains. Her book, Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, explains practical and easy methods to cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprint in your everyday busy life. Read the first chapter here.
Last week, I gave away an Amish-made wall hanging and an autographed copy of The Winnowing Season. Random.org selected the winner, and that winner is Sonia Crooks. Congrats, Sonia!
Do you long for the simpler times of yesteryear?
Do you wish you had the time to offer your family home grown meals?
Does your heart silently cry for a quiet place in this fast paced life?
In Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, author Melissa K. Norris explains practical and easy methods to cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprint in your everyday busy life.
If you would like to enter for a chance to win a copy of Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, simply scroll down to the Rafflecopter giveaway widget and follow the instructions! You may enter by commenting on my blog, Melissa’s blog, or both blogs.
While you’re visiting Melissa’s website, be sure to check out her free e-books.
Do you have a vegetable garden? What’s your favorite herb to cook with? Who did you resonate most with from the characters in A Season of Tending?
a Rafflecopter giveaway