BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Garden Variety

28 Comments

Riddled with holes large and small, the mesclun greens planted outside look like shooting victims, thoroughly bitten and nibbled on by some lucky set of slugs. A few inches away, the snap peas aren’t doing much better, looking a bit yellow around the edges and leaning heavily to one side, as if exhausted of all vitality and unable to stand up straight. And the tomatoes? Well, they just seem to have forgotten to sprout altogether.

This sad assembly of twigs and dirt is my garden, which unsurprisingly, has failed to become prolific yet again. However, there is one bright spot in this otherwise barren patch this time around; Herbs. Perhaps the only thing to grow properly and happily under my care, all variety of herbs are now ripe for the picking, so to speak, and there are plenty to choose from.

Lemon verbena, mint, and a just a few leaves of stevia were the perfect flavors to infuse into a simple tisane, inspired by an inviting recipe too easy to resist. So pale that one might mistake it for plain water at first glace, the light herbal flavors impart just enough zing to make for a unique and refreshing drink.

Admittedly less gratifying than biting into a juicy red tomato that came from your own backyard, it’s just a joy to actually grow anything sucessfully at this point!  Now, there are some chives, parsley, and mallow to tend to as well…

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

28 thoughts on “Garden Variety

  1. I had to laugh about this posting. My veggies sprout madly but my herbs are a dismal failure! I had bowls of tomatoes but could not beg a single basil plant to life to go with it! So sad!

  2. As somone who has managed to kill not 1 but 2 cacti in her time thanks to her seemingly never ending black thumb, I feel your pain with your veggie garden. Despite my best efforts, it seems that anything that is supposedly “mine” will ultimately die, while any plant owned by my husband will happily thrive away untended.

    I’m glad you at least have your herbs going well :) So far green onions are about the only thing that hasn’t expired since I moved here.

  3. I feel your pain too – damn slugs keep munching their way through my plants and the stupid ever-changing weather here means that my peas and tomatoes are reluctant to grow!!

  4. i have been dying to start an herb/veggie garden. we have tried tomatoes and peas earlier but had no luck, we wanted more harty plants like herbs or onions we are going to get this all in one gardening system that makes it really easy to have a succesful garden: the earth box, seriously research it

    • Yeah the Earthbox is amazing. I had a pepper plant in a conventional planter and that died right away. I have pepper and squash in an Earthbox and the pepper is starting to form buds and is growing really well. I wouldn’t say everything in it grows successfully but it gives you a better chance of success. Plus, watering is idiot proof and I am a total idiot when it comes to over watering. :-)

      The bugs are still a problem and you really have to stay on top of every single leaf in order to win that battle.

  5. I need to learn to be a better gardener for sure! I bet this tea was great! So is the stevia sweet like the new artificial sweetener or what’s the deal with the fresh herb form kind?

  6. I miss my garden!! Sadly, we have no land here. Ah well, maybe next year :)

  7. This tea sounds so refreshing, and I hope your other vegetables turn around. Tomatoes from the garden are always so much better than store-bought ones.

  8. I can’t even grow herbs!! Maybe I’ll try again this summer…

  9. Sounds like a delicious tisane! I’m still scared of growing my own herbs.

  10. Aww, I’m sorry about your garden. My tomatoes took forever to finally sprout and they were doing well for awhile, but now they look kind of pathetic and wilty. Trial and error, I guess. I’d try some different varieties if I were you to see if they work better in your space. And hey, at least you’ve got some healthy herbs!

  11. My lovingly tended vegetables–these adorable eggplants I’ve known from seed!–have decided that they’d rather die than end up in a delicious Spanish rice dish. Meanwhile, the wild asparagus near the train tracks in town is flourishing like mad.

    Thanks for the tisane idea–I’m always looking for interesting ways to drink more water. Have you tried a slice of cucumber in water? It is a new favorite of mine.

    In an unrelated note, your crocheted cuties have inspired me. I’ve been knocking them out by the dozen lately!

  12. My veggies are also looking very sad so far… I’m hoping to get some fertilizer to perk them up… the only thing that is doing well are my chives! I had beautiful rosemary, mint, parsley and basil inside for a very long time, but then my kittens got to them. :( Mint-infused water is the most delicious thing, though!

  13. the herbs in our garden are growing better than everything else, as well. except for the lone little pea. i think it’s all about low maintenence. and not enough light, for mine.

  14. I’m a failed gardener too, and yet I persevere. Not sure why. Guess it still remains incredibly satisfying when something DOES grow and thrive. You’ve just reminded me that I meant to dry some of my verbena leaves for tea :)

  15. I love lemon verbena! I used to have some growing in my kitchen window. I just had some lemonade mixed with a bit of cayenne pepper and some mint leaves…yum!

  16. Oh, I’m sorry about your garden. This is exactly the reason I don’t attempt to grow anything! I have thought about an herb garden though. Your herbs look like they are doing just fine!

  17. My garden is one sad panda, glad you ended up with something!

  18. I’ve been meaning to try lemon verbena so I can use it to scent some macarons….sorry about the rest of your garden…:(

  19. Good God, if anyone can make artichoke more pronounced in pasta is YOU!

    Gooooooooooooooo Kaminsky!

    You have your own garden? Srsly woman…I mean WONDER WOMAN!

    Hope all is well:)

    xoxo

  20. I do not have a green thumb, lol…I [accidentally] kill any plant that I come into contact with!! Last year I managed to get a few leaves from a basil plant and that’s about it. I bet the fresh stevia leaf is awesome :)

  21. I’m so sorry to hear about your garden…stupid bugs! But nice herbs! I want my own herb garden tooo for very long time! I really love your blog! Finally I leave a comment!

  22. I have been growing a herb garden for 15 years. The reason I love them so much is the bugs rarely bother them. I plant basil around the patio to keep the mosquitos away. As for other plants including vegetables and flowers I break up egg shells to keep the snails and slugs away.{it is like glass to them}. Dish soap mixed with water and sprayed keeps the bus off the leaves. herbs are great for cooking, making soap,and making tea. mostly I just love sitting in the evening or morning and smelling the aroma.

  23. your pictures are so good! i wish i could get half the shots you do!
    mmm…lemon verbena. mmmmm….

  24. I wonder what fresh Stevia leaves are like? Such a new to me ingredient and I’m interested in learning how to use it.

  25. Gardening teaches us patience and perserverence! I’ve had huge, lovely, successful plants, but then I also had the better part of my fall garden successfully sprout only to be immediately eaten by grubs. You might want to consider having you soil tested, that can tell you if you have any deficits in your soil that need to be corrected. I’ve been really happy with our raised garden, which allows you to start with good soil to begin with. And my partner put in a drip hose hooked up to a timer, so everything gets watered automatically and regularly, which after a touch of trial and error helps avoid the under/over watering problems. If you are not opposed to luring the pest bugs to their death (I know there are some vegans who refuse to kill garden pests, in which case this advice will not be helpful) you can partially sink a shallow dish (an empty Tofutti tub is perfect) into the dirt and then fill it halfway with beer (the cheaper the better). The slugs will crawl in but not out.

    Tomatoes are one of those plants that if you want to start them from seed it is best to start them inside in trays and transplant into the garden after danger of frost has past. I was going to start my tomatoes from seed this year but because of what we have going on that didn’t happen, so next year it is! Herbs are great for new gardeners because many of them, especially the mint family, are very “weedy” plants meaning they do well even in less than ideal conditions, grow pretty quickly, and you get a lot of flavor bang for you buck.

    I think I’m rambling so I shall stop. Your tea looks lovely! Don’t give up on your garden :)

  26. intersperse tomatoes with basil, roses with garlic….to keep pests away. Herbs are naturally resistant. I don’t ever use any pest control…but I do over plant. Right now we have red headed woodpeckers stealing our tomatoes but they have babies and are so lovely. I don’t mind sharing at all.
    As for the slugs, some people put out hair clippings which cuts their little bodies up. Others put a few lids of beer out for the slugs to drown in. They love it…at least they’ll be drunk! I have found interspersing with herbs cuts out that need.

  27. I’d really like to be able to grow a good selection of herbs, the only thing that survives on my balcony is oregano. Anything else that I plant either gets eaten or dies.

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