Planting My Herb Garden - First Time!

Where I live, you’re not really supposed to plant your garden until Memorial Day weekend. Buuuuttt….I had planting part one on Mother’s Day!

The extent of my gardening experience is a couple of cacti indoors and a pot of jalapeno plants last summer, so I was super excited to start! My main focus is going to be herbs, since I love to cook...and spices are freaking expensive.

I mean, seriously. Why are spices so expensive?

In my region, I can grow thyme, oregano, chives, and sage as perennials, so those were a must-plant. I also use tons of fresh basil in the summer, so that was a must as well. I also had (well, still have) a list of about 25 different weird herbs that I want because herbs are cool. I may have googled “unusual herbs” and written down everything. Y’know, just maybe.

Anyway, for Mother’s Day I took my mom out to a fancy nursery near where she lives, and ended up buying $90 worth of plants. 

Don’t worry, those weren’t all culinary herbs. I spent just about $40 on culinary herbs, and then got some flowers and medicinal plants because...I wanted to. I bought:
3 oregano plants (I use tons of oregano in my cooking)
1 chive plant (and my mom gave me a free chive plant from her garden)
1 sage plant
2 thyme plants, one of which is lemon thyme and isn’t a perennial in my region but tastes delicious so whatever
1 basil plant
3 parsley plants
1 marjoram plant

Then I came home and planted them. My lovely boyfriend had filled the garden bed with fresh compost, because my city is cool and has a giant compost heap that is free for the taking, so I just had to lay out the plants, dig holes, and put them in the ground.

Okay, it wasn’t actually that simple. The house that I bought last year has a yard that I’m pretty sure nobody has touched, other than to cut the grass, in 20 years. The grass is mostly weeds, there is no landscaping, and there is a poison bush/vine thingy with a root diameter as large as a rutabega, and - most importantly for planting - the ground is solid clay. So I had to remove a bunch of clay, line the holes with fresh dirt, and then plant my stuff. And to be honest, I’m still a little worried about everything dying from root rot. But we’ll see!

Looking at my cute little plants - which by the way, did not even so much as wilt after I planted them (yay for quality nurseries!) - was a reward in and of itself.

But the real reward came last night when I made a Mediterranean dinner complete with pesto that I created from fresh basil, marjoram, oregano, and parsley, with a side salad dressed with lemon-juice-and-fresh-thyme.

I have never smelled anything like the smell of those fresh cut herbs (I buy fresh parsley and basil in the grocery store, but the fresh picked stuff was at least 3x as potent), and I have never tasted anything as delicious as that dinner.

Oh, and I calculated the cost if I had bought fresh herbs for dinner from the store, and I already made back the cost of two of the plants. Even if I had (realistically) only used fresh basil and parsley from the store, and used dried oregano, I still would’ve paid for one of the plants. And the plants barely look like they were touched (I planted them THREE DAYS AGO and they have already grown).

So what is the point of this post? Well, here’s a breakdown:
My first planting was successful. Yay, me!
Everybody who has adequate sunlight should plant culinary herbs. It is SO WORTH IT.
Quality nursery plants make a difference. I didn’t have any of the characteristic three-day-wilt that accompanies grocery store plants, and everything is already growing beautifully, even in my garbage clay yard.

So go out, buy some oregano, and some thyme, and whatever else, and plant it. Do it. Now. If you don’t have a yard, use a pot. Seriously, it’s like food heaven.

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