Secret to Growing Herbs in the City

Large Leaf Italian Basil
Large Leaf Italian Basil

Ok maybe these are not so secret… but when I found the Lechuza self-watering planters, they truly became my number one weapon in fighting high grocery bills. In an earlier post The Little Things in Spice, I blogged about the financial benefits to growing herbs at home. I’ve been saving hundreds of dollars a year since I picked up the grown ’em at home habit.

Lechuza Self-Watering Planter
Lechuza Self-Watering Planter

I used to joke I killed ANYTHING that tried to grow in my apartment. Initially, I was never motivated enough to remember to water my plants. It all changed when I shifted to growing herbs, if I could eat it, I could remembered to water it daily.

Even when living in my 200 square foot apartment in Gramercy Park… no really… 200 square feet take a look, I grew herbs in small pots on my windowsill.

As I met my Husband and my traveling picked up, I started coming home to dead basil, parsley and sage plants with soil drier than the desert I had just visited. This simply would not do. I began researching and asking family and friends, just how they kept plants alive when traveling. The obvious, have someone stay in your place while you’re away. A less obvious way, overwater them a bit and place a beer bottle (washed and rinsed of all beer traces) full of water inverted into the soil. This actually worked fairly well but not reliably. I wanted something better and recently I found it!

After moving to Jersey City, I finally have a tiny little patio with just the right amount of space and sun exposure to really grow herbs. At the local 14th street garden center, I found friendly knowledgeable staff and the solution to my quest. I decided to invest in the Lechuza self-watering planters. I started out with one, these magical planters are not what I would call cheap at $50 or more depending on size. It didn’t take more than a month to convince me though, I ran out and purchased a second one right away.

Lechuza Self-Watering Planter
Lechuza Self-Watering Planter

Now, I can travel for about 10 days before I need to worry. Mind you, after a trip, the minute I’m home, I don’t even stop to turn on the lights or go to the bathroom before I’m out on the patio grabbing the watering can to quench my thirsty pepper plant. It might seem a tad dramatic but when you start the day like I get to, sipping coffee on a balcony three stories up, surrounded by my own lush garden that inspires my dinner plans, the positive impact starts to make sense.


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As I write this post, I’m sitting watching a bee expertly buzz face first into the flowers on my thai basil just inches from my bare toes. He’s no more concerned with me, than the large leaf basil in the same planter with no flowers to plunder. The weather is perfect in Jersey City and as the sun warms my skin, a gentle breeze sends waves of sweet basil my way. Breathing deep, I can’t help but smile and dream of what to make for dinner.


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