A Green Garden In Winter

It’s one of those things that my husband wanted to buy and I made fun of. But then I had to eat my words. Literally. Joe likes gadgets. Anything digital with a battery, a power cord, flashing lights; anything that has programming instructions. My basic nightmare. So when Joe suggested that we purchase a machine that has “developed and refined technology to create a growing system that assures a successful year-round gardening experience,” I was against it.

I love to garden. But the idea of growing a few herbs with a technology that demands automatically timed lights, a trouble-shooting call number, a website (www.aerogarden.com), 3-volt lithium backup batteries and Bio-dome seed pods put me off.

“How about a pot of parsley in the south window?” I suggested.

But now that we are the proud owners of an AeroGarden which allows us to “tend and harvest” gourmet herbs right in our own home, I have to say that I’m a fan. I love having something green growing in the dead of our Midwestern winter. I love cutting fresh basil to drizzle with olive oil over Mozzarella cheese; fresh dill to spice up egg salad; chopped tarragon over salmon; mint for sparkling winter drinks; parsley, sage rosemary and thyme to sing along with soup.

Herbs and spices add to the taste and texture appeal of any meal. We chop the leaves very fine for cooking. We add sprigs of fresh anything for presentation. We’ve grown lettuce, too: organic green romaine, arugula, butter lettuce and baby red leaf.

If my husband reads this, he will scoff. We’ve grown . . . What do you mean ‘we’?

It’s true. He bought the Aerogarden against my (less) better judgment. He reads the instructions. He takes care of settings and hydration and re-ordering. I pick the bounty. There’s a tiny scissors on the table next to the Aerogarden. I clip what we need for dinner. If there is overgrowth, I occasionally do a little pruning.

Other bonuses:

· Unlike an outside garden or organic from the store, there’s no dirt on anything grown in your Aerogarden. Everything is ready to eat without washing. The seeds germinate cleanly beyond the holes in the seed pod.

· Herbs are expensive, but if you grow your own this way, you don’t feel wasteful if you cut too much and throw away what wilts. Everything grows back.

· Our herb garden is also a security light. We have ours at the bottom of the steps, along a wall with a large window. The lights are programmed to stay on until past midnight. There’s a glow in this window that makes it look as if someone is always home.

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