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Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 3.26.2009

 

Nesting Green Home & Garden Special Issue

Seasonal Salads What to plant for tasty greens year-round

Conserving Water, Anticipating Surprises A profile of Deborah Brady

Not a Yolk Backyard chickens produce

Eco-Paint the Town Environmentally friendly options

On the Wing Plants that attract birds and butterflies

2009 Spring Planting Guide

 

Small Space, Big Tastes

Ten herbs you can grow in your apartment

By Kelly L. Walker

You don’t need a yard with a garden to access fresh herbs year-round for use in your favorite dishes — and I’m not referring to those plastic boxes at the supermarket. Herbs thrive in pots on sunny windowsills, so even an apartment-dwelling cook can enjoy them with ease. 

Tip: Herbs love to be used and abused, so frequent removal of leaves for cooking helps keep these plants bushy and active. If you lack south-facing windows, a fluorescent light bulb can often provide sufficient light for an indoor garden.

A star for thriving on neglect, rosemary flourishes in south-facing windows where sun is most plentiful. Like many herbs, it can be grown from small cuttings of outdoor plants, if available. 

Also a sun-lover, basil will grow full and lush year-round if kept warm enough. Pinching off its flowering tips keeps its foliage thick for regular harvest. 

Oregano prospers in abundant indirect sunlight with little attention besides frequent harvest to keep the plant from growing leggy. 

An essential culinary herb, thyme comes in numerous varieties with diverse flavors and can grow in eastern or western windows if the southern sills are occupied. 

Famous for its stubborn survival and for spreading, mint is easily harnessed in a pot indoors (or out) for a multitude of culinary and medicinal uses. 

Stevia may be a less classical herb, but don’t overlook its low-calorie sweetening powers. Perfect for sweet teas or standalone treats, this South American plant needs plenty of sunlight and an occasional mist of water for humidity.

Chives boast round lavender flower heads that are edible but may impair the flavor of the leaves, so you may opt to snip off the flower buds of half your crop. 

With attractive, gray-green leaves, sage adds beauty to a sunny part of the home, as well as key flavor to many dishes.

On the less hardy side but well worth the challenge, parsley is best grown in a window with southern exposure, and its soil should not be allowed to dry out.  

Finally, lemongrass is a common ingredient in Asian cooking and teas, and its soil may be left to dry out between waterings.