Well, I’m back. Hopefully for good this time. Not everything has been done, and some of the things that have been done might benefit from being corrected, but I have this strange feeling that the more I wait to end all those decorating works the longer they take. But my house it no longer filled with stacks upon stacks of boxes and my kitchen is usable again, so I figure it’s time to shake things up a bit here, lest I lose my faithful readers. Well, what’s left of them, anyway.
Starting on a light and rather easy note, I’ve been trying to revive my houseplants, which have suffered somewhat because of all the chaos. Sometimes I just forgot about them, sometimes they were tucked away somewhere and nigh-inaccessible, but whatever the reasons, they had a hard time. And that’s not a good thing all in itself, but even worse for a herbalist. It’s a little difficult to convince people I know how to harvest and use plant remedies if my own thyme bush looks like Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.
Of course, it’s not hard to get them back into shape, and most of you probably already know what I’m going to write. But maybe someone will benefit of even these trivial scraps of information, and I’ll get used to updating Kitchen Witchcraft more often.
So, potted plants. I don’t keep a lot of them, because there’s something a bit unnatural about keeping them in jars and whatnots and it irks me. Nowadays I just keep a few herbs to have fresh access to them, and a small lemon plant, the result of experimentally putting a lemon pip into soil some time ago. This particular one has been poorly for a long time now, I suppose the soil was a wrong kind. My basil plant is a survivor of many hard times, week-long journeys into the mountains and fantasy conventions, so even if it is a bit scraggy it’s doing pretty well all things considered. But even that one has suffered a bit. What to do, then?
Well, first of all, it’s important not to overwater. The first watering after a period of neglecting can be more generous, but that’s it. After this, stick to the regular intervals that are best for each plant. It’s also a good thing to nourish the plants with more than just water. And here we come to the pinch of the matter.
In the case of aromatic herbs, such as basilor rosemary, using practically any fertiliser should be avoided. Artificial fertilizer is a very bad choice, as it changes the taste of the herb and, in drastic cases, can interfere with its medical properties. Using natural fertilizers is marginally safer, but it changes the taste just as well, and in the case of compost, much more. So, what to do? The answer is quite simple : use culinary waste to water your herbs.
You’ve probably heard more than once that boiling potatoes, for example, destroys quite a lot of their nutritional value. What really happens is that some substances diffuse in water and are no longer in the potato as we eat it. More nutrients-conscious cooks use the water to make soups or sauces, for example, but it can be very useful for Your neglected plants. The same goes for the water used to boil groat (buckwheat groat gives especially rich leftovers) or even rice, though white rice is definitely the poorest option. Water your herbs with it and they will feel better in no time.
What’s important is to remember that there can be no table salt in the water if you want to use it for your plants. If you’re the kind of person who adds salt automatically to anything they boil, this is a good incentive to stop. Seriously, it adds nothing but a few percent of hypertension risk. And if You are like me, and hardly ever boil potatoes, you can still put the potato peels in a pot and boil them for about twenty minutes. Then let the water cool and presto, you have a nice vitamin pill for your herbs, although there’s something really strange in peeling the potatoes only to put them away and boil the peels. Even if I know I will be roasting them later I still feel like an old lady going slightly off her rocker. The same can be done with eggshells, apparently, though I haven’t tried yet.
Oh, and if anyone has any ideas for my lemon, please share them. Blessings.