Friday, September 11, 2009

Herbs, Very Useful Frugal Gifts


Plants can be very thoughtful gifts.

It warms the heart of those who recieves them.  It cheers up those who are ill and hospitalized.  It even makes those who are lonely feel wanted by someone.

But how about practical ones too.  Not just the ones that are beautiful to behold, but the ones that are beautiful and useful also.

I am talking about herbs.  They can make excellent gifts for people who loves to be in the kitchen. Having fresh herbs can compliment any dish and bring a satisfied smile on the face of the giftee.

I find that basil is an easy herb to grow.   It can be use in many italian dishes and I love it on pizza because tomatoes and basil compliments each other.   Genovese basil if properly cared for can yield lots of leaves for many dishes. So why not make a gift of basil to a friend?

The way to do this inexpensively for a small gathering of friends, is to start the seeds early in your home.  Usually around the month of March to give them enough time to put on some growth.

Plant them in five inch pots filled with soil with a little perlite in it, and place at least twelve small seeds in each pot. Some seeds cost ten cents per pack and I have seen some at twenty cents per pack and some as high as one dollar or more.  I use the ten and twenty cent packs. Just make sure you check the dates on the seeds to be sure you are getting ones that are for planting for this year. Most can be found at Dollar General, Walmart etc.

Once you have planted the seeds keep them moist by watering them well.  You will soon see spouts around a week or so.  I usually use the liquid Miracle Grow on them. (Follow the direction on back of bottle) You will not need much at the early stages of growth.

As the seedlings grow, pinch off a little of the top to encourage them to branch out and get bushy. This will help to make lots of new leaves.  Use the leaves you pinched in some of your dishes. Don't waste them.

I usually wait until the plant is about five inches tall before I give them out as gifts. This helps to make sure you are giving out good strong plants.

If you want you can put three herb plants together in one pot, thus giving the giftee more than one plant as a gift.   One good combination is thyme, basil and oreganoe, all the great herbs for a good pizza or italian dish.

Now it is time to get some ribbons and some decorations and give them to your friends at a brunch or gathering at your home or at theirs.

Then sit back and watch the smiles and thank yous you recieve for giving such a frugal and thoughtful and practical gift that will last all spring, summer and fall and on.

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