Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Going to pot

As I wrote last week, I have been very inspired by Jack Monroe keeping fresh herbs on her windowsill--even in her most extreme poverty. I figured, if she could do it then so could I.

The problem lies in the fact that I have never successfully kept anything alive and that was when my Mum lived close by and was giving me enormous amounts of help. Now she lives half a world away (we are separated by an ocean) and I’m sorta on my own except for a few emails and frantic phone calls for advice.

Even if I have no talent for growing, I have absorbed enough lectures about horticulture to know a thing or two. I could tell that the cheap herbs in pots that I had on my windowsill were root-bound and therefore would not fare well unless something happened. But what needed to happen I had no idea as I’d never gotten that far. Mum said they needed to be re-potted, in a slightly bigger pot. 

Ah. That meant buying a bag of compost and some pots. That meant looking at whatever local shops I could to find what I need. There was no convenient Lowes to go to for all your home and garden needs. After bringing a ruler into Wilkinsons and measuring the diameter of all the terra cotta pots (they were all listed in centimetres and I’m still an inches and feet kind of gal) and then emailing Mum for advice we settled on the 6 inch pots. She said terra cotta was best from a gardening standpoint, I thought they looked nicer from an aesthetic standpoint. I bought three at 75p each.

Finding an affordable bag of compost that didn’t weigh as much as me was a bit of a problem. I finally found a bargain bag of soil with some peat for £1 for 15 litres of compost.  I genuinely have no idea how heavy it was as it was measured in litres, but I was able to carry the bag home on my own, so not that heavy.

The next problem was the fact that we don’t actually have a garden or any outside space as we live above the church offices in the centre of town. Sure there is green space right outside our flat, but it is community green space. I figured I needed to do my planting indoors.

Mum had also recommended that I get another parsley plant as the one I had was a bit scalped from over use. She was afraid it would not grow back so I invested £1 in some parsley from ASDA. This kind was the curly leaf kind, the last kind was the flat leaf kind which I couldn’t tell the difference between that and the coriander so I had to put sticky labels on the pots. Now I can tell the difference. Plus Mum tells me that curly leaf is stronger than flat leaf so I can use less and stop risking giving it a crew-cut.


 So I did what my Mum suggested and put some broken shards of a plate in the bottom of each pot to help with drainage. I did this by putting a saucer in a ziplock bag and beating the crap out of it with a hammer. It was very satisfying.


Then after replanting and major kitchen cleaning (the compost got  *everywhere*) it looks like this:

Isn’t that gorgeous? I am really pleased with my work and got phone confirmation a few hours later that I had managed to do it right. She thinks that the coriander may have had a bit of a root shock after I loosened the rootball, but as of typing this it has perked up enormously.

 I have enough space on the windowsill and plenty of compost left (despite how much I managed to spill everywhere as I was planting) for another pot so I may pick up a basil in a week or so after payday.

But I am hoping that some of her green fingers have worn off on me and I can keep these herbs alive. Which, by the way, are pronounced HERBS not ERBS because there’s a fecking H. (thanks to Eddie Izzard for that joke)

So there. 

Please grow.

Thanks Mum.

1 comment:

  1. Your *erbs* look great, and every step is just spot on, chickadee. Please tell Eddy Izzard that HOUR is also properly pronounced OUR and it too has a feckin' H in it. Long may these little cheerful and useful plants live! The original parsley is not as bad off looking as you described over the phone, and could have been saved I think. Oh well, a little food for the compost bin is also useful. Proud of you!