Making Your Own Patio Herb Garden

Fresh produce whether vegetables, fruits or herbs represents
the seasons of Spring and Summer. 
Growing up surrounded by the Lancaster County farmland, the start of
Spring meant spending the weekends walking barefoot in the garden preparing the
soil for flowers and planting seeds to grow all types of vegetables and
herbs.  I gained this passion for
gardening through my mother and grandmother who have taught me about different
types of flowers and sharing gardening tips. A fond memory is driving around
Lancaster County visiting numerous nurseries to buy annuals, perennials and
packets of seeds before heading out into the garden to plant. You do not have
to live by the farmland to have your own garden as you can grow beautiful herbs
and vegetables in containers on back porch or even apartment balcony.

One main ingredient that is always utilized in recipes are
herbs such as basil, parsley, chives, dill, and cilantro.  Typically, you will buy the necessary herbs
for your recipes at local grocery stores; however, making your own herb garden
located in your garden or in a pot located on your back porch is an easy
afternoon project and a way to save money on herbs.  Take an afternoon drive to visit a local nursery and experience the greenhouses filled with
vibrant colored flowers.  Wander back
into the vegetable and herb section of the nursery and pick out a few of your
favorites that you utilize often when cooking. 
If you do not have a garden, you can pick up a longer planter at a local
hardware store or nursery, use old wine boxes or any other container that you
wish to grow your herbs in.

Even though you can buy plants and herbs at Lowe’s and Home
Depot, the experience of driving into a locally owned nursery and exploring the
vast variety of flowers, plants and gardening ideas is a great way to spend an
afternoon. I visited a local nursery and walked through the stone paths
exploring every nook and cranny filled with beautiful flowers.  A small greenhouse located in the back of the
property was filled with beautiful herbs and plants such as peppers, tomato
plants, cilantro, parsley, mint, chives, green onions, and basil. Cilantro is one
of my favorite herbs so I immediately picked up the perfect plant and could
instantly smell the strong aroma of this herb. 
After picking up two other containers of basil and parsley, I wandered
into a cute shed that contained rustic containers for plants and herbs.  A beautiful wire basket with burlap and
decorate herb sign attached to the front caught my eye which will serve as the
perfect home for my three herbs this growing season.

After picking up a bag of potting soil, I started to fill
the bottom of the container with soil. 
After arranging the herbs in the container and ensuring each plant has adequate
space to grow, use your hands to place the damp soil around each plant until
each herb is surrounded.  To achieve a
successful herb garden, the herbs will need to receive some sunlight throughout
the day and receive water.  The best time
to water your herbs is either in the early morning or evening after the hottest
part of the day has past.  You want to
ensure that the soil in the container is slightly damp at all times. 

Instead of picking up herbs at the grocery store for a
recipe, you can walk outside to your herb garden and pick the ones that you need for that evening’s dinner. Caprese salad is a favorite recipe
that is easy to make and a great use of basil.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

½ cup fresh basil leaves

1 package fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
Tomatoes cut into slices
¼ cup honey
1 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Stir balsamic vinegar and honey together in saucepan over
high heat.  Once it comes to a boil,
reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, set
aside to cool.
Arrange the tomato and mozzarella cheese slices on plate
with basil leaves, season with salt and pepper as needed. Drizzle the salad
with balsamic reduction before serving.

During your stay at Flowers & Thyme Bed and Breakfast,
you will get the opportunity to explore the beautiful gardens on the property.

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