Footnote Frivolity***, Gardening on a Budget

Grow your own ‘Gourmet Garden’

In my last post, I wrote about growing your own herbs, which should be a fiscal no-brainer. Wisely spend $20 at a nursery and you’ll never have to reach for a Gourmet Garden tube again.

Being a lazy gardener, I try to grow herbs that require minimal effort. Rosemary, thyme, and mint are the must-haves of my culinary garden. Rosemary and thyme are drought-tolerant and aren’t too fussy with their soil requirements. Mint doesn’t care where it lives; it can be quite invasive*.

More ambitious gardeners should try cultivating delicate herbs such as basil and coriander as these wilt the quickest when store-bought. They tend to be annuals, however, and need to be replanted yearly. The leaves also need to be preserved to ensure all-year-round supply**.

Herbs can be easily grown from seeds, but if you’re a gardening noob like me, then stick to seedlings. Buy the best that you can get; this doesn’t mean going for bigger plants, just picking out the best of the batch. When selecting plants, Meredith Kirton from Grow, Harvest, Cook offers the following advice: ‘First of all, check that the leaves are uniformly green…See if you can spot insect damage, weeds or fungus rot. Leave any contaminated plants alone…Never buy a pot-bound plant. You can tell these from the roots growing out of the base of the pot or circling the surface. Don’t hesitate to remove the pot to have a good look at the root system, but remember to replace it’ (via Dig).

Once you’ve chosen your seedling, bung it into a bigger pot with some potting mix*** and water it in with some seaweed emulsion****. Avoid drowning it and you’ll have fresh supplies of your culinary favourite in no time.

22 years, and 5 months to go,


*’Invasive’ is a nice way of saying that it’s a weed. My friend threw out some mint into the compost once; it has now taken over her lawn. If you do grow mint, keep it contained in a pot, don’t let it loose in your garden.

**Jeff Cox and Marie-Pierre Moine’s The Cook’s Herb Garden suggests ‘fill[ing]’ the ice cube tray to the brim with herbs and pour water over just to cover. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours…Use within 6 months.’

***No, sorry, you can’t skimp on this one. Soil from the garden will cake in your pot (I learnt this the hard way). Either buy premium potting mix or make your own.

****Seaweed emulsion is good for preventing transplant shock and very easy to make as per creepy old guy on YouTube:

2 thoughts on “Grow your own ‘Gourmet Garden’

  1. Found your blog via one of G’s FB posts… love what I’ve read so far and look forward to delving deeper into your archives. Hope you are both well and look forward to seeing you soon – maybe around Christmas?



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