I have found that parsley is a noble plant. Since the store-bought flat-leaf
seedling was transfered to a bigger pot, it has been giving me unfailingly one
fresh bundle per week for my pasta. Its lush leaves created shade which kept
the soil moist during the hot summer and it never attracted pests. As parsley
is a perennial, I look forward to many more harvests. My doctor friend sang
high praises of the herb and urged me to add it when juicing. To do that, I
need more. So the next step is to buy another seedling or two.
The sage has grown to a majestic cascade with branches shooting upward and
evenly to the sides. Fast sprouting fresh leaves more than met my weekly needs.
I was happy to harvest them regularly to dry and put away.
But soon, small holes started to show up. Some pests must have been nibbling at
the leaves. It could have been the aphids, I thought, and went to invest in two
sprayers. Half-a-dozen-garlic worth of showering proved to be wasted.
Soon, things went from bad to worse and many nice leaves at the top were
damaged by more than half. It was ugly to see but no culprit came in sight no
matter how long I stood above and stared at the plant.
One day, out of frustration, I crouched down and tried to examine underneath the
leaves. In two minutes, to my horror, a big fat caterpiller was found busy
munching. Where did it come from? I suspected the butterflies but doubted I
could catch any red-handed. Some careful search yielded two pupae, wrapped in
sticky white tissue and attached to the leaves from below. Things returned to
normal afterwards and the silvery green fragrant blades grew back. But I've
never forgotten the lesson and I check them almost daily for new worms.
The rosemary gave me no problem so far. It seems very hardy and has since grown
to three feet tall. But I haven't found a good recipe for it to include into my
diet. I was a little worried as I heard this plant was aggressive and could grow big.
The cherry tomatoes grew from last year's seeds left accidentally in
the pot. Almost everyday, I watered them, trimmed the dead leaves, and nipped
the sucker branches. They simply never stopped reaching upward and I made one
mistake by forgetting to tie one fruit-laden branch that went too far out and
snapped from its own weight. Into September, they seemed to have lost steam and
stopped bearing new fruits and the lower-level leaves quickly withered. Overall, the
tomatoes gave a good return for my work as I must have enjoyed hundreds of them
fresh from the garden and spent half an hour each day outdoors working on them.
Next year I will try to grow some heirloom tomatoes to cook with. The heirlooms
from my local farmer's market have given me very good results all summer long.
With them, I don't need canned tomatoes imported from Italy. I won't even look
at their poor combine-harvested cousins that are genetically related to
ping-pong balls and available year-round in the superstores.
The cilantro was a different story as they quickly bolted when the weather
heated up. I learned that experienced growers plant cilantro constantly, always
harvesting the new ones. But I found growing from coriander seeds needed a lot
of care and seemed too much hustle.
Much of the leathery summer savory succombed to the heat. The potful under a
shade, however, grew into a respectable-looking bush. They had tiny purplish
white flowers. Initially, I added some leaves when cooking beans to prevent
gas(It was not the quick solution that I sought). But after a few months of
regular bean-eating, my body adapted and I stopped adding savory. So I might not
grow them next year.
Last, the green onions were a success. They only needed water and I harvested
weekly a bunch of long stalks. Without the stems, however, they did not make my
major source for cooking. So I will give it up, too.
Looking back, I have learned plenty from simply paying attention. Moreover, I
think this is the real deal in life. Let the world chase after the new, the rare,
and the swashbuckling. To me, to be able to appreciate the mundane has
been a true blessing. As someone said "Renounce and Enjoy." Thank You!