By Cindy Naas
Growing pots of herbs is a wonderful way to have a garden even in the tiniest space possible.
For many city gardeners, a few pots on a window sill or balcony uses all the room they have available.
For the space they take up, herbs are probably the biggest bang for your small gardening buck. Knowing how each kind of herb grows and what to do once you’ve grown them will make your herb garden a joy all summer long.
Where to grow – Parsley needs full sun, meaning direct sunlight for at least 8 hours every day. Most parsley plants can get to be quite large, too, so don’t try to grow this herb in a small strawberry pot. My parsley is grown directly on the garden, but I have grown it in a large pot before. When I pot grow parsley, I add in some annual edible flowers, usually nasturtiums, to brighten the pot. Parsley needs a fair amount of water, too, so keep it well watered.
How to harvest – as soon as your parsley plant is about a foot tall you can begin to cut it back every couple of days. Parsley is delicious in a wide variety of recipes, and most of the time I need at least a cup of parsley, so don’t be afraid to harvest a lot at each cutting. Remember to water after you cut.
How to use it – my boys like to eat parsley by itself. Picked fresh from your garden, it has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor which gets lost in parsley you bring home from the store. I add it to fresh salads, include it in marinades and use it in breading if I fry fish. Here are two of my favorite parsley recipes:
Dipping oil for bread
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
- 2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- lots of freshly ground pepper
Mix all ingredients together, and serve small bowls of this with a loaf of fresh bread as a first course to a summer meal. When I serve this with grilled fish and a nice fresh salad, my guests always beg for the recipe and I send any leftover oil home with them. It will keep for a week in the fridge, however.
- 3 cups of finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 green onions,chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 4 or 5 fresh tomatoes, diced into small chunks
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup bulghur wheat
- 2 cups boiling water
In mixing bowl, pour boiling water over bulghur and allow to stand as you prepare all of the vegetable.
Mix all chopped veggies together, add olive oil and lemon juice and spices. Drain and rinse bulghur, and mix into the vegetables. Serve chilled on a bed of romaine lettuce if desired. Serves four to six.