Some years ago I lived in a rented house on the outskirts of the city. There was a path that led from the back of the house through a locked outside door into a large garden.
I used to call it my ‘secret garden’ and during summer I spent as much time there as possible, having dinner al fresco, reading books in the late afternoon sunshine or tending to the many beautiful and interesting shrubs and flowers that were planted there by my delightfully eccentric landlord.
There were lemon, peach and apricot trees that lined the path and overhanging vines and creepers that provided an arbour overhead. It was a truly peaceful place to dwell and was what most attracted me to the house.
It was also there in that garden that my education in the art of herbs began in earnest.
One afternoon while lounging on one of the many beach chairs that littered the lawn I was greeted by the cheery bellow of my landlord.
We spoke briefly of pleasantries and weather, as was his style, before he explained that his visit was to ‘see about the herbs’. Who could’ve guessed that this rather pedestrian chance meeting would be the opening up of a new and wonderful world to me!
With no other motive in mind than the continuation of pleasant, though meaningless, conversation I asked him if it were difficult to grow and tend herbs. His response was swift and intriguing,
‘My dear, whether it is difficult or not is irrelevant… These are herbs, the wellspring of civilization!’
And with that one enigmatic statement, my obsession with the growing of herbs began.
Herbs are the soul of cooking
“half of the nutritional value of plants is lost within 30 minutes of harvesting” Source: health.com
There are many ways to grow herbs and many different herbs you can grow. My first investigations were mainly in the vein of what herbs I wanted to have easily at hand.
As a lover of good food, it was rather easy to choose 5 or so herbs to focus on growing at first – the ones that I knew I would use the most. So once I had settled on my short list I got to it. With trial and error as my teacher (as well as some great advice and tips from my landlord) I grew my own herbs and eventually could call myself a ‘herb gardener’.
There is something truly civilised and enlightened about growing and using fresh herbs; I began to feel like a renaissance man of the kitchen. Herbs are the soul of cooking after all.
When a work opportunity beckoned in a different city, I left that house with much sadness and relocated my life to an apartment that was close to where my job was situated. The glaring problem of smaller living took a while to reveal itself; there was no garden. Because I knew that I couldn’t go back to my previous dried-herb lifestyle I began looking for ways to have a herb garden indoors.
The beautiful indoor herb garden
After some asking around and the usual internet trawling sessions I was directed by a friend to the KitchenGarden by Fiskars. It consists of four pieces that are very easy to understand, use and clean; a capillary mat that provides perfect watering conditions, a pot holder for store bought herbs, a growing base and a plastic cupola that covers the whole unit while providing easy access to the herbs for daily use.
The product comes in a Basic and Premium version and is inbuilt with an LED light to promote growth, large leaves and aromatic qualities in the herbs.
Due to its clever design, there is almost no wastage; the herbs that I’ve grown in this product have lasted longer and been of a very high quality. It is the perfect product for anyone wanting garden fresh herbs right in your own kitchen. As a happy side-line, it is beautiful to look at too.
There is nothing better than being able to pick herbs for use straight away and to taste the goodness of the real flavors that fresh herbs bring to any dish.
With the KitchenGarden by Fiskars I feel like the spirit of my ‘secret garden’ lives on.
Ready to start your secret garden? Or just want to be able to grow fresh organic herbs all year long?
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