For gardeners, this is a fickle time of year. Daytime temperatures on some days soar and flowering trees are bursting into bloom. But night time temperatures are still plummeting and the impatient gardener has to keep the trowel in the shed for a little while longer. In the case of my Northern friends and family, spring is in the distant future and they are desperate to get playing in the dirt! I thought this little project would bring fresh herbs into your kitchen to liven up the spring cooking we all crave while also getting us gardening without the fear of frost killing our plants.
For some time I have been admiring chalkboard paint projects but had not tried my hand at them. I got the idea that a crate would be perfect for a kitchen herb garden. Of course I thought of wine….crates! Off I went scouring local liquor stores to sweet talk my way to a free wine crate. With a small jar of water soluble chalkboard paint( JoAnn’s, $6.99) and a foam brush, I applied several coats of paint to my crate in no time at all and let it cure 24 hrs. In retrospect, a primer coat would have been a good idea to obliterate the writing on the crate so I could use fewer coats of chalkboard paint.
With a blank slate, I dusted off my inner poet and got to the really fun part of writing all over this herb garden crate! What’s so cool is that the chalkboard is erasable with a damp cloth and the slate can be wiped clean for when inspiration strikes again! Use a plain old piece of chalk to write on chalkboard painted surfaces. You can buy specialty chalk pens but they are not necessary and I find them harder to control.
I lined the bottom of the crate with plastic and filled it with pots of herbs and a glorious heliotrope, all found at a street farmer’s market this past weekend when Prince Charming and I went to see the Cherry Blossoms in bloom in the city. I love the distinctive scent of the heliotrope which smells like vanilla or a grape popsicle. It rewards the gardener with a continuous show of flowers throughout summer. A favorite garden staple of our grandmothers, it is harder to find today. It gave my kitchen herb garden a punch of color and a bit of height.
When spring has finally sprung where you live, the herbs can be planted outdoors. Until then, fresh herbs can make your everyday cooking sing with the promise of spring. With such a lush herb garden at your fingertips, a little snip of this, a little snip of that and you will soon be feeling like a cooking goddess/god! Bon appétit!