Saturday, January 18, 2014

Herb Garden

After I was discharged from the hospital for pneumonia, I came across the idea of having a fresh herb garden in the balcony. Imagine the convenience of getting fresh herbs for cooking right from your own balcony! Plus, this saves you money. If you need just a few chops of basil, no need to buy an entire pack from the grocery.  But my problem is, sometimes I don't stay in my place for a few nights. Who's going to water my plants? Then, I saw this ingenious idea: self-watering container.  Through the wicker, the plant just extracts water from the "reservoir" if it is thirsty. Clever!

The good thing is, it can be a DIY project. All you need is a 2-liter softdrinks bottle. Here's how it's done.

I already started collecting 2L bottles. And I already knew where I will be buying my initial set of herbs (Manila Seedling Bank in QC) to start my herb garden. Unfortunately, a few days after, I got sick with crypto meningitis, and was admitted in the hospital for a month. Then, my doctor told me that the crypto fungus may be obtained from inhaling bird feces as well as from contaminated soil! Yes... from contaminated soil! So, after I was cured from meningitis, I decided not to push through with my herb garden project to reduce my risk of crypto. Maybe I can resume my herb garden project when my CD4 becomes 350 :)

For the meantime, to preserve herbs for 10 months, I discovered another method: blanch the herbs, freeze them in ice cube trays, then transfer them to a ziplock bag. Note that blanching is important especially for PLHIV as this process kills the bacteria. Blanching is quickly putting the herbs in a boiling water for 2-3 minutes then immediately transferring it to an iced cold bath to stop the cooking process. This can also be done for other food as well like calamansi juice, potatoes, carrots, cayenne pepper, bell pepper, spinach, broccoli, garlic, parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, mangos, cream, and fresh milk, etc.