Scouting: Roberta's Garden

  Garden at Roberta's  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Garden at Roberta's | Image: Laura Messersmith

My friend Alana seems to have her ear to the ground (no pun intended) on all things fun and happening in Brooklyn – this is a talent I wish I had, but for now I pretty much rely on her to tell me when there’s something we should check out. She is also game for exploring with me and this has led to scouting missions in Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Gowanus, and yesterday Bushwick to see the garden at Roberta’s Pizza and do a little herb planting.

  Garden at Roberta's   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Garden at Roberta's | Image: Laura Messersmith

We learned during our tour from the lead gardener Melissa that the produce she grows supplements the food purchased by the kitchen. On a quarter acre there are fruit trees, tomato vines, edible flowers, and of course, herbs.

Part two of our class involved how to grow new herb plants from cuttings. We were given a dozen or so different herb plants to choose from – purple sage, English thyme, basil, mint, lavender – and instructed to snip a small sprig from a lighter green area of new growth. After we removed some of the lower leaves and pruned the upper ones a final diagonal snip of the rooting end completed the prep.

  Herbs   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Herbs | Image: Laura Messersmith

I love the bright flavor fresh herbs add to my cooking and many of the recipes I make call for them, but keeping them on hand and in usable form is tricky, so having a pot of thyme or rosemary ready to donate a few leaves would be awesome. My little herbs are now nestled into a tiny seeding pot and I am (semi-patiently) waiting to see if new growth happens….

  Herb Cuttings   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Herb Cuttings | Image: Laura Messersmith

In the interest of journalistic integrity I have to tell you that at this very moment a dish herb garden is struggling for life on my windowsill, so I’m not making any promises that these little shoots will survive. But if Mother Nature is with me on this project then my grocery store herb days might be numbered…. I’ll keep you posted! 

  Garden at Roberta's   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Garden at Roberta's | Image: Laura Messersmith