Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Windowsill Herb Garden: Part I

Several weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to receive an email from a small, family-run seed company asking if I'd be interested in trying out some culinary herb seeds in exchange for linking to the company on my blog.  How exciting!  Free stuff!  I'm a sucker for everything that's complimentary.  But would I put just any product on my blog?  Absolutely not.  So I did what school has taught me to do; I researched.  Fortunately, I liked what I found!

The company in question is Hometown Seed Company out of Orem, Utah.  According to their website, the company sells vegetable, flower, and herb seeds, focusing on small quantity, home gardeners.  They strive to sell quality seeds at reasonable prices and guarantee that their products will live up to that standard of quality and performance, or they'll replace them free of charge.  So far, so good.

My favorite aspect of Hometown Seeds is their pledge not to knowingly buy or sell genetically modified seeds.  Hometown isn't convinced of the safety of GMOs and so will not participate in the marketing of that technology.  Sounds like my kind of people.  I am adamant in my distrust for genetically modified foods and their long-term impacts on our bodies and the environment. 

So, I wrote back to Anita over at Hometown Seeds and told her I'd be glad to write about and link to their company.  Shortly thereafter I got my free stuff in the mail - a collection of culinary herb seeds.  What the company has named their Kitchen Herb Value Pack.

Inside the pack came ten different kinds of culinary herb seeds, each in its own little pouch. The pouches are labeled with the name of the herb as well as very clear, easy to read growing instructions.  Thank god for that!  It really puts a bur in my butt when seed packets have generic growing instructions that don't make any sense.  Is it too much trouble to ask for specific instructions for using a product? Anyway, I've decided to start out my little herb garden with four different varieties.  Italian flat-leaf parsley, broad leaf sage, rosemary, and chives.

Hold the boat.  You're going to plant an herb garden in the middle of December?  In Washington State? 

Yes, friends.  Yes, I am going to do just that.

I don't see any reason to not break out the gardening tools on winter solstice and set to work growing things.  Sure, it's cold outside, and the ground may be frozen or water-logged, depending on your climate, but that doesn't prohibit all of the opportunities for gardening.  It's just time to move the operation indoors.

Growing herbs in a windowsill is easy.  If your window is facing south or west, it's even easier.  I personally am thrilled by the idea of clipping fresh Italian parsley to garnish my meals with.  Flavor doesn't have to end with the first snow fall, people.  I, for one, plan to enjoy not just the flavor and aroma my little plants will bring me, but also the addition of more green to the landscape.  Those of you who are looking outside to a foot of snow on the ground right now can surely appreciate the need for growth and life during this dark, dormant time of the year.

Like I said, it's not difficult to start your own windowsill herb garden.  All that's required is some soil, a few small pots or containers with drainage holes, and some seeds.  Once you have that tiny arsenal assembled, this is what to do:
  1. Read the instructions on the seed packets.  In the case of my seeds from Hometown, they recommend soaking some of the seeds in water for various lengths of time to increase germination.  Follow the instructions on your seed packs.
  2. Once your seeds are ready for planting, fill your pots or containers with soil.  You'll want to fill them pretty much to the top, as the soil will settle and sink once it's watered.
  3. Plant the seeds to the recommended depth and spacing requirements.
  4. Water thoroughly after planting, and place in a sunny window.
  5. Continue to water according to package instructions.
  6. Watch 'em grow!
  7. Snip and savor in your favorite dishes.
Herbs that are started indoors during the winter can be transplanted into your outdoor garden or moved to a balcony or rooftop once the weather turns warmer.  Don't be afraid to grow more plants than you need.  You friends will love them as much as you do!

As you may have guessed from the "Part: I" part of this post's title, I will be giving updates every so often on the status of my little garden.  I'll be posting photos and tips to document the progress I'm making, so stay tuned!


  1. Windowsill gardens are always so lovely :) How cool that you received these gems to start one :)
    Happy New Year!

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