Adventures in Gardening

Potted herb garden3Potted herb garden2I will be the first to admit that I am by NO means an expert gardener. This is my first year with a backyard of my own so I've made it a goal this season to at least learn something about gardening. So far I've read one book on the subject, admired a few other amazing womens' gardening skills (see here and here) and I sprouted a few herbs from seeds. Potted herb garden1I have fresh basil, cilantro and parsley in my future! Now I admit that a few small pots of herbs might not be anything to brag about… but… what can I say? I'm excited! I am not an experienced or skilled gardener. Oh goodness no! I actually killed my first batch of sprouts; left them in the sun too long/didn't water them enough. Rookie mistakes, I know.Sprouting from seedsI tried out two different methods for sprouting seeds. I tried out seed planters with very little dirt, lots of water and a little sunlight. And I tried seeds in paper towels, no dirt, keeping them wet and out of the sun. Both methods worked but I found that the first method worked better for me. Live and learn.

I'm hoping to devote a little more time to my backyard this season; gardening, maybe some simple landscaping and using my fire pit as often as I can. Sometimes it feels like there's just not enough hours in the day, but it's good to start where you can. Even if it's just a few pots of fresh herbs. xo. emma

  • Hi to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from this web page.

  • Hi to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from this web page.

  • I bought this book:

    And it’s helped so much! Im renting my house and the Florida soil here is horrible so I do all my herbs/plants/veges in containers. This book is amazing! And even gives tips on what to grow with what.

  • Words can’t say how much I appreciate what you’ve mentioned here… Thanks a lot for this info.

  • Love having fresh herbs on hand in the house! My friend (and co-blogger) just put together her herb gardner and made the cutest herb markers. She swears it is really simple too!

  • That is a good goal. My garden is out of control. I need an afternoon to get it ship shape but I should have lots of veggies comming. You should try tomatoes in a pot and see how they do. Home grown tomatoes are the best!

  • Hi Elsie, I like your ‘blog’ it’s very bright and cheerful,and you share your ‘mistakes with us** growing herbs in pots is a great idea if you are a bit ‘space poor’ i like you will give things a try.And usually you get some pleasant surprises.There is always that feeling of satisfaction, when you can pick those fresh herbs or vegetables, knowing you helped start the process.Keep up the good work **** Jo

  • A week ago i tried growing Tomatoes, i left them in sunlight for a week and keeps watering them, they didn’t grow, after then i experimented growing them in a place where sunlight stays for few hours, they are working fine now..!

  • I keep killing rosemary, but have great luck with mint and parsley. A good book for when you are starting out is The All New Square Foot garden. Even if you don’t go with that method, it still has some good advice for beginners.

  • I’ve done well with the wet paper towel, but then I’ve also had luck with things just springing up from seed in my garden! My porch is starting to look like a road-side market! Best of luck!

  • You can make some awesome pesto with that genovese basil…YUM!

  • I just bought some succulents & they’re harder to take care of than I thought! Good luck with your gardening!

    <3 Sarah

  • This will be my third summer doing an edible garden, and I find that herbs are a little trickier than vegetables. But on the whole it’s not that hard. Your first year will be full of mistakes, but as time goes you learn more and what works in your climate and soil. Chile peppers, eggplant, tomatoes & some squashes are easssssy in the summer, at least, where I live they are. The first meal you make with your home grown herbs/veggies is very special. 🙂

  • i tried to do some gardening myself, i planted some lettuce. at first they turned out great but i kind of neglected them (too much watering :p). o well i still have some seeds left, i’ll start over. 🙂 i think it’s great to have small pots of herbs especially in the kitchen, saves you time and money!

  • I think starting with herbs is a great idea. I just added rosemary, thyme and cilantro to mine this year to go along with the chives and sage I already had. The only thing I can’t grow? Basil. I have some kind of basil-black-thumb.

    I think you’ll have a great summer gardening:)

  • When it comes to herbs, I have found that you really don’t need to sprout them. Just stick them in the dirt and they grow.

    In fact, the oregano, thyme, mint and sage from last year came right back in the spring! And we’re in Zone 5 (Chicago!) Hardy little dudes, they are.

    Can’t wait to see what gets cooked with these lovelies!

  • I have what my FIL calls black thumbs, they are just not destined to be creative in the garden. I have tried 3 times now to grow my own herbs, the last time getting advice and making sure I did everything I was told, but they still died, so Ive just given up lol and let the boys do the growing now.

  • That is exactly how I started my first year gardening. Each year you add a few more things and a few more beds, and you learn more every year. Such a fun process and always with unexpected surprises.

  • it’s a great start! you may have to thin those plants – thinning is so hard to do though, killing all those sprout babies! they say it must be done or they won’t grow well.=(

    that is why i only sow about 3-5 seeds in the space. most of the time at least 2 (or all) of them sprout.

    gardening is very learn as you go, as with all things.=)

  • Gardening from seed is so satisfying. Your little pots look so healthy and happy! I hope you have fun with it!

  • Good luck & good growing!

  • What I learnt this year was to test my back yard’s soil with a simple soil testing kit from the hardware/gardening centre. Mine had to be fertilized QUITE a bit, but I’ve made progress ^_~

    I’ve been reading some of Gayla Trail’s gardening books and she writes which is a nice resource too. There are quite a lot of veggies that are easy to grow from even pots if you ever want to give it a go? Lettuces perhaps?

  • that is great! I’m proud of myself for just having a small pot of basil! I’m lovin our new fire lot this year too, so much fun for gatherings

  • Ooh! Love the pictures!

    Rachel Nicole @ Summer Breeze

  • Funnily enough, this is the first year I try “gardening” too, but where I live is a bit risky to leave plants outside, plus I’d forget, so I have them by my window.

    They get plenty of sunshine and I can water them everyday. So far it has proven a success, I planted the seed on small pots, and slightly covered with compost. Is fun

  • Nice work, though! I’d be bragging about my gardening skills even if I only had one pot, haha.

  • Thanks for sharing your tips on how to do it right! Best of luck for you!

  • Great pick on the herbs you chose…basil is by far the best herb known to man. I have a killer salad dressing recipe that has fresh cilantro and basil in it…it might be worth checking out:)

  • I am also trying to grow my own herbs, but somehow everything dies 🙁

  • I love to garden! I get it from my mother and my grandmother, both have major green thumbs! Your herbs look great! Can I give you a tip…when you first plant seeds, make sure you use a spray bottle. If you use a faucet to water them, it’s easier to drown them. I just planted morning glorys in pots on my window sill. Morning glory is a vine, with purple flowers. Love them! <3
    Yes, I know I’m a gardening nerd.

  • Hey Elsie. We just built a fire pit as well! Love it. Also, I’ve been gardening since I can remember and have had a garden in our current place for at least 5 years. Anyway, need any pointers? I’ll be glad to help. I employ organic standards with my garden and I just launched my gardening blog. I know everyone promotes their blog (as they should), but you might be particularly interested in this post –

    Btw – gorgeous shots!


  • i am gardening for the very first time this year. i started easy with tomatoes and peppers. we will see how yummy i can make my omelets come june 🙂

  • Looks good! I like fresh herbs in the garden. I planned to do it myself this summer too, my garden can use some greens;)

  • I have a little deck herb garden this year as well. I began with starter plants though. I think makes it easier to keep them alive, since the visual reminder of the plant is staring at you begging to be watered. 🙂 You’re braver than I am starting with seeds the first go-around!

  • I’ve been seriously contemplating the idea of growing my owns herbs. This might just be the kick start I needed! May I ask what book you read?


  • The best place to start is just with a couple of plants and gradually work your way up. Before you know it, you will be growing a large amount of your food in the summers.

  • Oh, seedlings in pots. My sister and I live in the city and do not have a house in the countryside. We also planted herbs and spices in pots. )))


  • I absolutely love to garden. I’ve gardened with my mom since I was a little kid. I don’t have a yard of my own but I still help my mom out in her yard. I love getting dirt under my nails and watching things grow over the summer. I planted a few herbs and flowers in pots on my balcony this year. I had to find shade friendly plants since we face north but I’ll still have a few herbs right outside my door this summer. Good luck with your gardening adventures and don’t be afraid to grow more!

  • I know how you feel. I feel like a rookie, haha. I have tomato plants, basil & mint right now. I just hope to keep them alive. I’ve tried seeds before but with no luck. ♥

  • I’m moving to Texas in August, and for the first time in my adult life, I’ll have outdoor space! I’m so excited to garden!

  • My method is make it up as you go. 😉 excited to see how you do and thanks for the link sweet friend!!

  • I attempt to garden every year, and have since my husband and I moved in together. Even in our apartment, with tomotoes in our tiny dirt patch. Sometimes, I completly butcher the attempt but most years I get a small harvest of fresh tomatoes at the very least. I’m trying my hand at herbs this year, too. So far, they are thriving.

    Good luck on your gardening! It is really rewarding when it turns out.

  • gardening is tricky! thanks for sharing your methods!


  • I planted my herb pot-garden just last week! I’ve been doing it for years now and it’s so much fun to grow them yourself, but they really do take much diligence and watching over! Looking forward to seeing your flourish. Might I suggest that you transfer them to larger pots with more soil so that they won’t dry out as easily. I don’t mean to come off as a know-it-all but I have lived and learned on that one!


  • Thanks for sharing! We tried to grow some herbs inside the house, but they died when we went on a trip.

  • Thanks for sharing this! I’ve tried gardening, but the AZ heat is just too much for any kind of non-desert plant. Good luck!

  • I find that the paper towel method for growing seeds works better for me! Just personal opinions. (:

  • I have a tiny 8×8 balcony in Colorado. Not exactly prime for growing green things. However I’ve made it work with plastic containers and lots of attention. Surprisingly my sugar snap peas are doing really well. I can’t wait to have my own backyard again.


  • I have parsley, basil, and cilantro growing on my balcony right now! Except, mine are in mason jars instead of actual planters. It’s so fun! 🙂

  • Every year we try to grow some fresh herbs in our apartment…and every year it’s a struggle. :S

    ~Natasha Fatah~

  • Those seedlings definitely need to be thinned out! I’d divide each pot into at least 4, otherwise you’re going to get root bound fast and your plants won’t grow. I’ve had a successful herb garden for the last couple of years. They are my favourite things to grow. My staples are basil, thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, mint, and this year I added a curry plant.
    Lettuce and spinach is fun to grow too! We always have a patch of mesclun mix that feeds us all summer.

  • yes, my first thought on seeing these pics was to thin out the seedlings! each one of those could potentially fill a pot that size.

  • I just started an herb garden too! I bought some plants from a Farmer’s Market instead of trying to grow them from seeds. I have a black thumb, but at least I’ll be able to have homegrown fresh herbs in a few dishes before I kill them off!

  • I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who made the rookie mistake! It’s my first year working from seeds, and my first batch died a sad death out in the hot sun with too little water. I’m going to try to start over and not be too discouraged.

  • Best of luck you your herbs and future gardening ventures! I just put in my first garden and I am beyond excited to see the teeny sprouts breaking the soil :]

  • You may want to thin out those sprouts – if they are too crowded they wont properly grow and will end up not making it to full size.

  • Hooray! Growing herbs from seed is no small feat, man. We keep killing our poor mint plant, and my chives are the saddest thing ever. Once I can own a plant for more than a week and NOT dehydrate it to death, I’ll celebrate by getting a basil plant: ALL the pesto!

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