Grow at Home & Start Frugal Cooking with Herbs!
Save money by developing a new hobby: gardening!
The 3 most important things you need for this type of Cooking with Herbs are a piece of land, time and patience. Gardening is a cheap activity that needs a bit of research in advance. First of all read books or google information about gardening. Start learning and developing your interest in nature and when, where, how and why to grow vegetables, herbs or fruits yourself. This is a fun thing to do!
Secondly start thinking about the vegetables, herbs or fruits you buy weekly. In the future you might reduce your purchases by half by consuming your own harvest. Sounds great, no?! Make a list of what you want to grow and what you like. Keep it realistic! You know best what climate you live in. During your research you will become aware of what is possible and what might not grow. In case you have your doubts, ask your neighbor gardener colleague or friends and family for some tips and tricks. They will be glad to share their experiences and knowledge and will encourage your gardening ambitions.
Here you go, start investing! If you don’t own any tools yet, you might need some to start off with. Choose your tools carefully. Don’t let the price scare you off. Good quality tools last for a decade if not longer. Watch out: don’t buy too much in once. The glimmering and clean tools in the shop look very attractive and boost your enthusiasm. Don’t go for ‘the newest inventions’ backed up by television demonstrations. We all know they look extremely handy but mostly end up in the bin or even remain in their package for years. Stick to old-fashioned tools your father or grandpa used. Remember your experienced neighbor, friends or family and ask them what is really necessary. Maybe they even own the same tools twice and are willing to sell them for a dime or even give it to you for free instead of throwing away later. They’ll be glad to help you!
Not only tools but fertilizer and chemicals are important. Research will
show you what products to use best in your garden. Again, don’t buy too
much. The bags of fertilizer you buy in bulk can dry out and are
difficult to store. Another advantage you have growing your own
vegetables, herbs and fruits is: you know what and how much chemicals
Follow my gardening tips and you’ll see: gardening keeps the money in your pocket and is a great outside pastime! Believe me: the first time you will prepare your own tomatoes, pumpkins and cauliflowers you will happily forgive and forget the sore knees, fingers and back it cost you to get this far. Ready to show off your 100% homemade dinners on the next family party? You will smile every time you cross thyme, basil or strawberries off your shopping list remembering how much it would’ve cost you in the supermarket.
Does your harvest run out of hand? Are your string beans, tomatoes or potatoes a booming business? Here are 4 tips to come to your rescue: throw a garden party, give away to family and friends, exchange products with your neighbor (who you can call your friend by now) or develop another interest and skill of preservation! A great and again cheap way of storing food for later for example during the winter. And a nice idea for a homemade present if you urgently need any.
You live in a small condo or apartment like I do containing a balcony, a little patio, an outside corridor or even a stupid window sill? These places are fit for a Cooking with Herbs garden, really! My patio is small but I decided to try growing a little garden anyway. And yes, it works! I chose to start with the usual kitchen herbs only: thyme, basil, mint, tarragon, lavage, parsley, dill and some other famous friends. I bought them at a garden center, purchased pots and some potting soil and went to work. The result looks nice! The little greenies lights up the whole space. My husband sprays them once a week. The Belgian weather takes care of the rest.
I’m very happy with my fresh supply of herbs. While I use one of my recipes for Frugal Cooking with Herbs, I go out armed with a pair of scissors and start snipping away whatever I can use. It’s a delight that doesn’t need a lot of time or effort. The taste is absolutely beautiful. Fresh, strong, full of flavor. Just great! I can’t believe I used to buy all these overpriced fresh herbs in the supermarket only to use them once and having to throw away so much afterwards. You wouldn’t believe how much money can be saved by starting to develop your own little plot.
You don’t necessarily need to buy those brick pots like I did. Use old cups you don’t need anymore or cut up empty plastic yogurt, butter or milk containers. Fill them up with fully grown plants and a bit of extra soil or start from scratch and plant seeds (if you’re very ambitious, germinate your own seeds). Sprinkle with water from time to time and wait for the first hatch. There’s your little garden which will become a treasure for your Frugal Cooking with Herbs!
It depends on the space available and your choice whether you keep it simple growing only herbs (like me) or start adding vegetables or fruits.
Some herbs don’t grow during a longer period of time. Other herbs or plants have to stay inside during the winter or they might freeze. Make sure you place the herbs in front of or close to a window. They need lots of light to keep on growing. An average 5 hours of sun a day will make a huge difference. Depending on which herbs you keep inside, you might have to spray them daily or every once in awhile. It’s easy to keep an eye on if you keep your herb garden in the kitchen. I’m sure it will make you want to practice Frugal Cooking with Herbs (even) more!
Get organized! Internet provides numerous websites and blogs about balcony or indoor gardening containing information, tips, experiences and spectacular tricks to make your garden work. Do a little research and get to work! It will cost a few bucks to get started. The money you save afterwards by harvesting your garden is worthwhile. The joy of cooking with herbs from your own garden is priceless.
This is my bible for cooking with Herbs and Spices: