Experiment: Urban Gardening
Updated: Aug 25
I decided to try to grow some fresh herbs myself on my windowsill! A lot of recipes I try call for fresh herbs. I live in an apartment and cook for myself and if I buy a whole container of fresh herbs then they usually go bad. Sometimes I just use dried herbs in place of fresh herbs and I am going to think about drying fresh herbs (see some links below), but I also wanted to try out growing some herbs because it seemed like a fun science experiment!
Here's an example of how to dry fresh herbs from giadzy.com via Pinterest:
However, growing plants from seeds takes awhile -- that's just how it is :) -- and I wasn't sure how successful I would be (haha! :)), so I also bought a fresh basil plant from the grocery store, so I could have fresh basil. The plant also requires a little tending to as well.
So the Urban Gardening Experiment had 2 parts:
1.) A plant that I just have to keep alive (Fresh Basil), haha! :)
2.) Seeds that I have to nurture and hope turn into plants
Part 1 - Fresh Basil Plant:
The plant comes in a thin little plastic pot, but you can't keep it in there. The instructions are written on the plastic wrap around the plant. I cut them out and kept the instructions and it says you keep it in sun and keep it in about 1/4" to 1/2" of water. I didn't have a vase or gardening equipment. I just recycled some containers -- one was from my lemonade packets, which I have used before as a tall skinny vase (see Donut bouquets link; this one was for Valentine's Day, but you could change the colors and make one for any time of the year
) and the other was a parmesan cheese container.
I poked some holes in the bottom of the container with scissors, so the water could get to the roots. Then I put it in the "bowl" / parmesan cheese container.
I put it in the windowsill and I add water to the bowl as needed. Usually, I add some water everyday. I am happy to report -- Day 10 and still alive! And I have been using fresh basil in everything now. Haha! :) It makes the food taste better and it makes the photos look better too. :)
Part 2 - Seeds:
I got this little pack with 5 different types of herbs: basil was one of them, cilantro, sage, thyme, parsley. It ahs little containers, which are like thick egg carton pots and some soil to get you started for the first few months.
I read the instructions. For sage and parsley, there is a little prep work you need to do to give them the best chance of growing.
Day -1 (Prep work for planting Sage and Parsley) before planting them all in soil!
You have to put them sage and parsley in HOT water for 24 hours to incubate them and help the seeds get the best chance of germination. This part really felt like a science experiment.
The sage seeds look so cool and puffy. I wouldn't have thought that the sage seeds look like that.
It did not specify a temperature for the HOT water, so I just microwaved some water for 30 seconds and put the seeds in there. I put the sage and the parsley seeds each in their own cup.
Left: Sage seeds when I put them in hot water; Right: sage seeds after 24 hours in water
Left: Parsley seeds when I put them in hot water; Right: Parsley seeds after 24 hours in water
Then you plant them all in the little soil discs. Something I wish I had realized or didn't pick up when I read the directions was that you only need to plant a small fraction of the seeds you get. If you put too many seeds in the little pots, then it will overcrowd and the plants won't grow. For example, I could have only put 10-20 sage seeds and parsley seeds in water and then saved the rest. However, I can just buy more seeds; seeds are cheap.
To set up the little garden, I actually recycled the plastic containers that some pork came in to catch any extra moisture. I put some plastic bags under them also to catch any water. Then I just put it in the windowsill. You keep the soil moist, but not soaking. I have ended up watering them everyday.
I watered them everyday for a week and then...
Miracle of miracles! Some little buds!
You can't tell great with the pictures because of the light, but they are there...and then...
You can def see them here. All of them have grown some, except for parsley. The first photo is the sage -- the seeds that I soaked in water and were puffy & cool.
Nothing to see in Parsley yet.
It's awesome to see something grow before your very eyes! It will be awhile before I can harvest herbs to eat from these guys, but it's really fun!
Give it a try! We are good at this!