Get Fresh

Although we’re only into mid-march, the gods of weather are tempting us Vancouverites in a big way. It’s been positively lovely out, by Vancouver standards, and all this sunshine is making me wish I had a bit more colour so that I could pull my favourite bright-coloured nail polishes out of hibernation. But, since I’m still a lovely shade of Great Canadian White, there’s another thing I’ve turned my attention to lately in anticipation of the warm weather: a herb garden.

As a kid, the only concept I had of a herb garden was the one that my friend convinced me my mother planted in our backyard. “They’re chives!” she told me, “you can eat those, you know”. Chomping away on those chives, which in reality were just grassy-looking weeds in the flower bed, turned me off plant consumables to say the least. I don’t think I had a proper salad until I was 15 after that day. But with the development of my many food sensitivities around the age of 20, I began to realize that there was actually more to flavouring food than adding ketchup and butter. I know: shocking!

As I read through more and more recipes, it became clear that there was still even more to life than just basil and garlic. Cumin? Parsley? Mint? Hello home-made mojitos! But dang, were those herbs unfriendly on a student budget! When a roommate in my fourth year of university bought a herb garden, I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. The fresh taste of the just-picked leaves combined with my starving need to take care of something since leaving my puppy behind when I moved to university? It was the answer to my prayers!

Last year, I did my best to maintain my own little garden, but that’s surprisingly difficult when you live in a basement suite. Finding enough sunlight for some of these guys in an already sun-sheltered city is difficult, but so worth the payoff. My go-to fresh herb meal is a basil and avocado sandwich with just a teensy bit of onion; trust me, it’s absolutely divine.

This year, as I still have the same apartment, I may resort to begging my landlords to allow me to put my planters out in front of the house. Perhaps bribery by basil would work? Summertime to me used to be all about ice cream and slurpees, popsicles and barbeques. But since my tastes have developed beyond thinking candy is a food group (your welcome, dentist), I’ve come to associate warm weather with garden-fresh goodness. So even though I’m currently residing in a bunker-like apartment, I’m determined to find a way to grow my little friends, and it’s as simple as that. I can live without a tan, I can even live without bright nail colours, but I’ll be devastated if I have to live without fresh parsley.

images via 1, 2, 3, 4