Become an Urban Gardener

Grow, little herbs, grow!
Grow, little herbs, grow!
By Anais Alexandre

The ancients loved their herbs. Basil is actually Greek for the word king. Yeah, 'nuff said. Having your own herb garden is truly a culinary blessing. Here's our guide to becoming an urban gardener. Let these words soak into your mind and put them into action. We promise you'll have a verdant landscape so mesmerizing that your neighbors will be clamoring right over the fence.

Anyone can be an urban gardener! The exclamation point is to give power to the statement. Go ahead and say it again, aloud. Good. There's no need to be intimidated by gardening guys. We know this brings about thoughts of pretentious five-star restaurants, zealous green thumbs, or maybe a foodie gastropub that serves $100 plates of an herb-infused foam. Let it not be so! Herbs are easy to grow, and they make your dishes exponentially better. Buy them. Plant them. They are your friends.

Basil, poolside.
Basil, poolside.
By Anais Alexandre

So you want to give it a go but don't know where to start. And to you we say, start with what you like! Honestly. Think about the herbs you have tasted. Maybe its sweet basil perfuming an Italian vermicelli dish, or oregano sprinkled over a glistening oven-roasted chicken, or the sweet menthol aroma of mint swirling in your lemonade. Just start with what you like, because then you'll use those herbs in your cooking. And once you use them, trust us, you won't stop.

You're inspired now and ready to get your hands dirty. Take a trip to Home Depot, Target, or anyplace that has a nice gardening section. Pick up a few packets of seeds -- or maybe seedlings if you're a touch faint-hearted -- some small (one-gallon) planter pots, a big bag of dirt, and you, friend, are good to go.

Sometimes it's best to start your seeds off indoors by a window because they're delicate when they sprout. Once they're bigger (about three inches tall) you can place them outdoors (most herbs like partial sun and fairly moist soil). I like to elevate my guys on a table on the patio to deter any creepy-crawly critters. If you're worried about pests, go organic and buy ladybugs from GrowQuest or nonorganic and check the shelves of home improvement stores everywhere.

And that's pretty much it! They'll need some pruning if they get out of hand, but the good thing is you can just chuck that in a blender with olive oil and dried cheese to make an herb medley pesto.

Having your own herb garden will bring you much joy and satisfaction. We hope you try it -- don't be shy. It's nature, after all, doing what it does best.

Rosemary looks good on anything
Rosemary looks good on anything
By Anais Alexandre

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