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Blog: My Little Farm in Town

Chives by the Kitchen Door

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My grandmother always had chives growing outside her kitchen door. She would often step outside while preparing a meal, cut some chives, and step back into the kitchen. When I was a small child, my grandmother was already a widow living alone with a temperamental old cat named Deedeepuss (You had to be careful to pet only her head or she would nip you!) By this time, she had downsized her garden to one bed by her back stoop under the windows of her screened porch. There was an old water pump that gave rusty tasting water in it as well. (All us kids must have stood on the back step and pumped that screechy stiff handle until the water dribbled out.) The chives were located at the base of this pump, so she never had to even leave the steps and could be back in the house before anything could burn.

I think that everyone’s life would be richer if they had some chives growing within easy reach. I grow most of my herbs and vegetables in my front yard because that is where the sun shines the most. I guess lots of people are doing this sort of thing now—it’s hip. I’ve done it for years out of necessity.  I just have to have fresh tomatoes and herbs in the summer.

I started with a semicircle of whiskey half barrels and then expanded into a wider arc of zinc tubs. A flower and herb buffer with a 12-inch wire fence next to the sidewalk followed after I noticed dog walkers allowing their beasts to come 4 or 5 feet into my yard to “water” my kale! The rest of the lawn was gradually converted into beds via sheet composting. (They call it lasagna gardening now!)

 I have parsley, basil, chives, oregano, sage, dill, rosemary, bay, borage, and thyme growing in pots and beds in the “front 40” (feet). When I cook, it is all there for picking as needed. Since the vegetable gardens have started to produce, I find myself in the front yard a lot!

As you can see, it doesn’t take much space to grow as many herbs as you or your family needs. One or two sage plants can supply enough for Thanksgiving and the rest of the year. I grow my bay and rosemary in pots and bring them in every autumn. We have free fresh herbs all winter.  Herbs are some of the hardiest plants you can grow—they’re basically weeds! (Ask anyone who has had chives seed into their rose bushes!)

If you have a small sunny spot on your balcony, patio, or front yard, try growing some herbs. Begonia

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Zinc Tub O' Parsley

begonia

I planted these from seed. They are in partial shade and still doing great. I seeded Italian broadleaf into the middle and the rest is curly moss. Great in potato salad!

Sage in the Flower/Herb Sidewalk Buffer Garden

begonia

I love the silvery color. I'm going to have to harvest before they start street work later this week!

Dill by the Front Door

begonia

Like my grandmother before me, there are some things that I don't even have to leave the steps to harvest! This dill reseeds freely.

Potted Basil

begonia

I found this cool pot years ago at a garage sale. I like how the green paint is chipping. This basil was an end-of-the-season bargain from a local green house.

Thyme and Chives

begonia

This started out as a mixed planting and (as usual in my garden) only the strong survived. In this case, it was the thyme and chives.

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Author:
begonia (Contact)
Wisconsin USA
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