Monday, March 5, 2012

Word Garden

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to how writing a novel is an organic process. If you look at the novel as a finished dish and your herbs and seasoning as all the ingredients that go into your writing, you'll realize that you can't just whip it together in a hurry. Everything had to be grown. Everything has to be cultivated.

Similarly, your writing begins with an idea. Your "flavor" so to speak, such as your pacing or description, are the herbs. They don't just happen incidentally. You learn how to use them. You learn how to produce them with effective results. You have to nurture your talent over time. It might start out small, but it can eventually pack a big punch with the proper care. Just like the herbs in your dish need sunlight, air, water, and food to become plants which you then enjoy in your food, your writing will grow with time, dedication, criticism, and revision.

So here's a fun project you can do for under ten dollars. With a little patience and care, you'll have a neat little herb garden that you can use in your recipes.

Supplies: Mason jars (most of us have some lying around and if you don't, you can grab a few at the market in the canning section), potting soil, and seed packets for your favorite herbs.

1. Clean out Mason jars.
2. Fill Mason jars most of the way with potting soil.
3. Sprinkle in your herb seeds.
4. Top with a light layer of potting soil.
5. Add water.
6. Place in a sunny location.

I picked parsley (to feed our family's pair of guinea pigs), rosemary, sweet basil, cilantro, and chives. We also have some oregano and thyme growing in different pots. Then I put the Mason jars on my kitchen island which gets really nice afternoon sun. Because I don't have the time to make cute labels on my jars, I cut off the front of the seed packets and glued them onto the glass jars with this great stuff called ModPodge which you can find at pretty much any craft store.

Before long, you'll have some little sprouts. These were planted just last week, and look at how much basil is already popping up.

Eventually, you'll thin the seedlings to heartiest plants and continue to care for them with sun, water, and air. If you want, you can get some plant food to give your seedlings an extra boost.


  1. Lovely thoughts about writing being organic! And herbs...such a nice idea as everything is beginning to bud around us.

  2. Nothing beats the fresh taste of herbs in any recipe,thanks for the idea. I may just have to try this one out and hope my kitchen sill gets enough sun. :)

  3. Great post, Sarah! I love your mason jar herb garden. I might just have to plant one myself. :)