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Fresh herbs are flavorful additions to many dishes. Plant your favorites in old aluminum kitchen canisters. Drill small drainage holes in the bottom with an power drill. Make sure the planters get plenty of sun and don't let the soil dry out. Herbs for cooking: rosemary (pork, potatoes), parsley (pasta dishes), oregano (sauces, soups), sage (chicken, vegetables), basil (salads), and dill (fish).
Humans aren't the only ones who enjoy herbs. Treat your cat by planting feline-friendly herbs in aluminum or stainless steel pet bowls. The no-slip bottoms will keep the containers in place when kitty comes nosing around. Be sure to drill drainage holes. Herbs for cats: catnip and lemongrass.
Some herbs delight the nose instead of the tongue. Plant scented herbs in taller containers that invite a brush of the hand to release aromas. Attach rattan to the surface of a glass vase (hot glue works fine) to make the container easier to hold and to disguise the long stretch of dirt and drainage pebbles inside. Water carefully to avoid soggy soil. Herbs for scent: lavender and scented geraniums, available in many fragrances, including chocolate, peppermint, and lemon.
Turn a broken toaster into a fanciful herb holder. Remove the toaster's electrical innards, and leave the bottom open. Use a brick to put potted herbs at the right height to grow out of the toaster slots. Herbs for toast: Top toasted focaccia bread with butter and lemon-scented thyme leaves for a citrusy start to the day.
Here's a new way to turn on to herbs: Transform a strawberry jar into an accent lamp. Start by painting the terra-cotta pot with primer and flat (nonglossy) white latex paint. Cut a wooden disk to fit the top of the pot, and screw a wired lamp socket into the wood. (The lid lifts off for watering to avoid shocks. See next slide.) Use a grow-light bulb to augment window light for the plants. Herbs in this lamp: dwarf sage and oregano.
To avoid mixing water and electricity, the lamp's works are kept completely separate from the strawberry jar base. Add a shade -- the kind that clips to the bulb -- to complete the project. For best growth of the herbs, keep the lamp near a sunny window, and turn the jar regularly to give each plant its time in the sun.
Let a soothing herbal bath soak your worries away. Simple plastic pots fit neatly into a wire rack next to the tub. Bubble-shape glass beads prevent soil splatters when watering. Toss freshly cut leaves into warm bath water, or tangle a bundle of leaves under the faucet as the tub is filling. Bath herbs: lemon balm, French lavender, apple-scented geranium, and chamomile.
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