Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let them grow!

This past Friday, our office spent the afternoon volunteering with Spring for Alexandria.  This was our second year participating - last year we cleaned, painted, and did yard work for a girls home in Alexandria. This year we got to go to the local animal shelter!  What a beautiful facility.  I was extremely impressed by the size of the building and the number of animals they had there.  We painted a couple of the rooms and weeded the entire play area.  The dogs were so cute - several lab and beagle mixes.  I would say the cats and rabbits were cute too...but I generally don't go for them so it's hard to judge.  I was really quite proud of myself for not wanting to adopt one all of the pups.

After lunch down at the Square on King Street with the other volunteers and a few errands, I made it back home.  It was time to do some work on projects of my own.  The previous Sunday, husband and I went to Home Depot and Merrifield's, our local nursery.  We stocked up on some containers, potting soil, and herbs.  We got all of our plants at Merrifields because the ones at Home Depot just looked pathetic.  Half of their plants were dead - I don't understand how that's supposed to make me want to buy plants there...anyway...

This is the 3rd year that we are planting herbs.  I love it - it's so nice to have them growing on your back deck!  We don't really have a yard, just a small one in the front, so we have to do everything on containers on the deck.  We branched out a little this year with some new additions.  I have parsley, both a new plant and one I'm hopeful about from last year, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint and cilantro.

Also this year we added dill, chives, and cherry tomatoes.  I'm very excited to have them all planted.  I have the 2 tomato plants in one container, mint on it's own, the parsley together, and the cilantro in a pot inside. 

 I've already used them on 2 separate occasions - the cilantro for tacos the night we got it and the basil and oregano for roasted veggies tonight.  While the upfront cost can be a little high, over the summer we'll save significantly being able to just walk outside and pick what we need rather than spending a couple of dollars on a bunch at the store and not using it all.  And I find that I'll use fresh herbs all summer, on all kinds of things, and try different combinations that I wouldn't if I had to plan and buy them when I am doing my grocery shopping.  

Now for my next trick - figure out how to keep them alive during the winter.  I tried putting them in the garage but that failed miserably....

Do you grow anything during the summer?  If so, what?  

And are you able to keep them alive (or bring them back after) the winter?  What's your secret?  

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