Note, Benny: The following blog post was written before the July 25 blog post.
When I started this blog, I decided I would, above all else, not waste readers’ time on useless posts that say or accomplish nothing. Otherwise you’re bored, I’m bored, and nobody gives a rodent’s behind. As Hugh Grant’s character George Wade says in Two Weeks’ Notice (I corrected the apostrophe for them): “It would be impossible to tell you how boring it will be, because (beat) it would be too boring.” So no excuses, no laments about how busy I’ve been, no same-o/lame-o.
Instead, let me tell you about my awesome new kitchen container gardening plants! Oh, yes: not content to go outside in triple-degree heat daily to ice-water my existing container garden plants and make sure they are protected from the maliciously burning sun, I rescued some leftover and bedraggled herb starts from a local store. This local store, which I won’t name (it rhymes with tall heart, all art, and fall start—as well as with all fart, come to think of it) keeps its plants outside. Nothing wrong with this at all—until July hits and we all start withering. No amount of watering by even the most diligent store employees can keep up with the cruel full sun of an Oklahoma summer. Most of the herbs were utterly, inexorably, profoundly dead. As my friend Monkey says, it gives me the sads.
However, I managed to find a few starts that, having the good fortune of being in the back, under the shade of the shelf above, were actually managing to hang on. The flat-leaf parsley (a must for decent tabouli) literally fell apart when I picked it up. The peat pot was soaked so thoroughly in an effort to combat the heat, the plant fell through the bottom. Poor little fella! I scooped it up in one of the store’s plastic sacks and bought it anyway. He had survived that long in less-than ideal conditions, so who was I to condemn him? Plants, like people and cats, just need some love. I also found similarly salvageable rosemary and Greek Oregano. (Mom: what’s the difference between Greek oregano and regular oregano? Me: it has an accent.)
The problem is I do not like most commercial pots, but I love container gardening. Specifically, I do not like commercial pot prices. 20 to 50 dollars for a machine-produced piece of clay pottery, glazed or not, or cast concrete, is ludicrous to me. For that, they should be hand crafted by Lithuanian artisans according to secret techniques handed down over no fewer than 17 generations, or at least by war-refugee amputees who are eking out a living making lopsided, misshapen pots. At least then I could feel like a philanthropist of sorts: yes, this pot cost $30, but my money is going to feed an entire village of orphans in Darfur for a year. I’ll think fondly of the little darlings every time I harvest basil for my spaghetti sauce.
Alas, the one-armed, orphaned third-world potters haven’t been selling their wares around here, or, if they are, they have very poor marketing.
I turned instead to the kitchenware department and selected three 4-quart clear glass bowls, made in the U.S.A., thank you very much, Anchor Hocking! (I forgive you for confusing me in my youth by your name—I never did figure out how one could hock an anchor.) I placed about 3/4-inch of pebbles in the bottom of each pot, then mixed a commercial organic potting mix with perlite for the soil. The results are simply yummy. Usually, herbs just look like plants to me. But since they are in serveware, these make you want to dig right in and eat. Even though they have scarcely had time to grow since I bought them, I have already used some oregano and rosemary in my cooking.
A couple of advisory notes, though, for those wanting to follow suit: when indoors, due to the lack of porosity and drainage, the soil stays damp for a long time. After about 10 days, I had concerns about growing mold, so I moved mine back outdoors. In less than 2 days, they had dried completely, and were ready for more. They are also scalding to the touch, so I can’t move them without gloves. Eventually, I want to get a metal plant cart to hold them. That should help protect them from accidental breakage from acts-of-klutz, as well as adding style and mobility to my container garden.