My NYC Herb Garden

Yay! So a few of my herbs plants have stayed alive since last year. The above basil plant, is new from about 2 months ago, but it has grown beautifully. Basil and rosemary always gave me a lot of problems, but I realized that I must have drainage pots. I use to just plant things in bowls or pots that I had left over in the kitchen, but because they didn’t have the proper drainage, they all passed. And I must say, the chives, sage (not even in a drainage pot) and parsley, just grow like crazy. Even when I forget to water them, they’re just strong and sturdy and refuse to die, thank god. The newest addition is my yam plant. I’ll explain more about it later down below.

For my sweet basil, in order to get it to grow well, you need a lot of sun, a drainage pot and remember not to water it too much. Don’t forget to pinch it once in a while. What that means is to pinch parts of the stems off once in a while, or when you need to use it in your cooking to create new growth. See in the above picture where I’m ready to pinch off a stem that’s in between two other stems/leaves? That’s what you want to do. When you pinch it off, two more stems will grow in that area. Don’t ask me why, well actually, you can ask me why, but I’ll just probably direct you to a wiki link. Basil just smells great to have, and tastes to good. I put it on my pizzas all of the time, and in my sauces.

I now have a yam plant because I had an old yam that sprouted. I then cut the yam in half, stuck toothpicks in it so that it sat comfortable on top of a jar filled with water that covered the bottom half of the yam and tons of roots grew out. The vines kept growing as well.  Then when the roots got long, I gave it its own  pot of dirt to live in. Once the vines grow long enough, I’m going to cut them off, sauté them and eat them. I like growing things that I can eat in case you can’t tell.

The chives are strong suckers. They’ve kept alive and even multiplied since last year. I didn’t even realize they multiplied till last month and pulled them out of the dirt and realized that there were a lot more bulbs than when I first started. So I gently pulled some of the bulbs apart and repotted them to give them some more room. My favorite way to impress overnight guests right now is to make them omelets in the morning with fresh chives whipped into them, and then I also top it with fresh topped chives. Ever couple of weeks when the chives grow tall, I cut them down about half way and they just grow back. The smell is so lovely and intense when you cut them back.

Parsley is another strong plant, and versatile one. The new parsley grows from the middle of each plant, so if you want to get rid of some old growth, just cut the outer rows off. I’ve been using this a lot for soups, or when I want to get rid of bad breath, ie garlic breath, etc that just won’t go away. All you have to do is chew on some, and you should notice a difference.

I probably use the sage plant the least. Once in a while I will make a tea out of it, or just throw it into some stews.  When “You Are What You Eat” was on the air, Gillian McKeith always said that sage helps prevent sweating. So give it a whirl if you are so inclined to. What kills me is that it really needs to be planted in an actually garden because it is bursting out of its pot, and I feel bad for it. Maybe I’ll give it to my granny to plant in hers. What’s cool is that it’s really easy to care for, and it doesn’t even need a drainage pot. I have mine in a pail and its been doing just fine.

I’m dying to plant more herbs, but I’m out of room on that window sill, so I have to figure out how to go about that in a NYC apartment, without blocking all the wonderful sunlight I get through this window. If you have any ideas, let me know!

-Joyce Huang

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