Weland's GardenAfter what felt like months of lousy weather, we’ve finally got a stretch of decent days ahead of us.  Here at Capital Spice, that means one thing: it’s time to pick out greenery for our planter boxes.  Like most DC residents, we’re working with a pretty limited space when it comes to growing things.

And unlike Robert Weland at Poste, we’re too lazy to turn our backyard into a makeshift garden.  So what’s an aspiring locavore to do?  Make use of the space you’ve got to grow the herbs you know you’ll be using anyway.

When it comes to bang for your foodie buck, growing herbs is right up there with owning your own goat.  In most grocery stores you’ll pay close to two dollars for a bunch of herbs – more for the good stuff like sage and thyme.  And the petroleum-based plastic packaging that so many herbs come in adds exponentially to the environmental impact of your purchase.

Rather than swearing off the green stuff altogether, why not try your hand at raising your favorites at home.  Even if you live in an apartment with only one window, you’ve got room for a few herbs.  And there are some that are so hardy that nothing short of a significant snowfall will kill them (we had so much rosemary that there may still be some living from last year).

If you’re feeling agriculturally inclined, you can even go so far as to raise your herbs from seeds…but ideally you’d have already done that.  We’re not especially good at raising plants, so we opt for the slightly easier approach: we buy the young herbs and then plant them.

A few thoughts on where to buy herbs locally and a call for help after the jump. (more…)

The modest container garden continues to shock and amaze us! Mike and I enjoyed our first home grown produce of the season last night, straight from our itsy bitsy strawberry patch.

I’ve always been under the impression that strawberry plants need plenty of ground cover to produce any fruit. We  just picked these up on a lark to see how they’d do. Now that I can see how the strawberries took to the full sun on our deck, I wish we’d planted even more.  I doubt this year’s harvest will produce anything more than the occassional snack, but it’s fun to see them grow and ripen.

I have a lot of day dreams about a home with a yard. Right now we live on Capitol Hill in DC and we have a nice little deck, big enough for to have some friends over for a casual dinner and containers that can support herbs, fruit and flowers. We’re lucky to have it and try to take advantage of it as much as possible. Still… I yearn for a big backyard where I can really take advantage of the DC climate and grow some gorgeous things. I’m always telling Mike “One day, when we have a yard we’ll plant….” fill in the blank. My promises have ranged from peach trees to apple trees to a full blown vegetable garden (hmm, all things we can eat. Coincidence?). This day dream now includes a strawberry patch. Nothing huge, just enough to make a couple of daiquiris for friends. (more…)