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The week is halfway over and I still feel as though it only just began. I cannot wait until next weekend – well, next Thursday, to be exact. The project I am working on at work will be over then, and I can breathe again! I love my job, but I enjoy having many different tasks (which is how my job usually is), and lately this grant has become so consuming that I have focused exclusively on it for the past two weeks. I miss the variety!
What else is coming up this week? I’m trying to think. Good Friday and Easter Sunday, of course, which I will most likely spend tidying up sections of the grant for a meeting on Monday. I have a date at Fresh Market this weekend – I believe I will finally suck it up and buy one of those little basil plants. I was spoiled by my father’s garden of fresh herbs growing up in Washington, and I hate paying the exorbitant cost for fresh herbs at the grocery store. Especially the organic kind. After careful cost-comparison analysis and calculation, I have determined that it would cost less for me to simply purchase the plants and grow them on my balcony than it would to continue to buy packages of store-bought herbs. (That is a total lie. I just am tired of spending money on bunches of herbs that go bad before I can use them all. Also, my thumb is turning green.)
Supposedly, basil grows well in South Florida. Most information I have read said to avoid full sunlight, as it is too drying, but that is fine because there is a corner of my balcony that remains shaded for part of the day. I would love to also grow cilantro, but I have to wait until wintertime because apparently cilantro doesn’t like heat. Which I find bizarre because isn’t cilantro in Mexican food? And Thai food? Those places are both tropical and desert-y! Wait…what? [Note: I just looked it up out of curiosity, and supposedly the cilantro used in Mexican cooking is grown up in the mountains of Mexico where it is cooler - presumably the same is true in Thailand.]
Anyway, according to Jean at Year Round Garden, warm weather herbs suitable for hot and humid climates include basils (yay!), mints, lemongrass, rosemary, and thyme. Also, something called Texas Marigold Mint, a perennial herb that is used rather than tarragon in the South. The only issue is, I have limited space – just an 18-by-5 foot balcony, mostly sunny (it faces South, so I get sunrise on one end of the balcony, and sunset on the other) with tile floors.
So all that leaves me with is figuring out how to store the darn things. Marshall’s has the most adorable little planter boxes…but let’s be honest: I will much more likely buy the $2 kind of Big Lots. I need to figure out what they are selling at Fresh Market so that I can decide which to plant, because if I have to grow them in different types of soil I will have to buy a couple of different pots and I have to buy dirt somewhere – where do you buy dirt in the city? This requires more research, me thinks. This one guy I dated once spent months researching the best conditions for growing apple trees, from the chemical composition of the soil to cross-pollinating apple breeds (I know…where do I find these guys?), but I honestly think to just start with a couple of little herb plants shouldn’t be too difficult, as long as I double check the basic things ahead of time – wet or dry, sun or shade. The whole image of growing a living thing 13 floors in the air cracks me up. Does that mean I won’t get slugs up here?
How fabulous is this?
Oh, good, now I have something else to spend my time drooling over on Google.
Because planter boxes are the height of practicality in a high-rise apartment…I hope I can figure out a way to take plants with me when I move again.
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