What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Growing your own herbs from seed

I absolutely love using fresh herbs in my cooking.  There’s nothing like basil on top of spaghetti bolognese, coriander in a stirfry, or fresh mint on new potatoes with loads of butter. 

I don’t know about you but I was very guilty of buying a bunch of herbs, using half, and letting the other half wilt sadly in the fridge.  So I decided if I was going to get seriously thrifty I would need to grow my own. 

Even though we have a shared backyard we can’t just plant what we like as we are renting.  So we spoke to the unofficial gardener in our block and she set aside a pot for us to use to grow basil, mint and chillis. 

Before this I had not had much luck with growing herbs that are already mature.  They seem to last a few weeks and then flop.  These ones were OK (not great) so I thought next time I would instead plant from seed as it might give me a better chance – plus it’s much cheaper. 

We decided to buy a few small pots to plant some seeds and sit them on our front step so they get sun and rain.  We ended up planting parsley, coriander, basil, chives, rocket and cherry tomatoes.   You just follow the directions on the back of the pack.  I usually put about 12 seeds in total per pot.  Keep them well watered - every 1-2 days is good.

It was so exciting watching them grow.  The rocket was peeping out within a week! I was so thrilled (and embarrassed by how thrilled I was).  After just 4 weeks it was really going strong.  The others have all sprouted nicely, however the chives have just not happened for me.  Not sure what went wrong there?

We haven’t had our first harvest yet but looking forward to a rocket salad in the next few weeks.  It is definitely worth doing and you don’t need lots of room either.  You could even just plant some in empty cans (cut a few holes in the bottom with a can opener for drainage) and place them on a sunny windowsill and enjoy fresh herbs whenever you like! 

The pics above show my rocket at 2 weeks and then again at 6 weeks.  

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