If you have never experienced the joy of using fresh, organic herbs for your cooking, it is something that you should put on your list of tasks to not only try, but to try regularly. There are so many benefits to using herbs, not to mention fresh, organic herbs, in your cooking. Many of those health related and taste related benefits are beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that there is much support out there for the proposition that herbs are extremely healthy, providing antioxidants and other cancer fighting properties, and if you opt for organic it is likely that it will be even healthier. If you are living a land based lifestyle, it will be much easier to hop right on over to the corner grocery store and get some cuttings of whatever herb or spice you need. Most times, you get too much and it goes to waste. While herbs are not that expensive, if you have a replenishing supply, it will ultimately save you money, which is a large focus of this site.
Ok, so what do you need to do to start growing fresh, organic herbs at home, or in your boat you may ask. Well the answer is a simple one. You make a small, organic, indoor or kitchen herb garden. There are many herb garden designs out there, and many styles to choose from ranging from using indoor herb garden kits and design, indoor herb garden planters, to indoor hydroponic herb gardens which use water instead of soil. It would be fine to buy a kit, but all the herb garden really is, is a wooden box with purchased plants. If it is more reasonable to buy the kit, then do it. As for the design of the indoor herb garden, rather than tell you I am an expert, which I am not, I found this excellent article at www.countryliving.com that has a great plan for an indoor herb garden.
To make this work for your boat would also be easy. You would build the box and then it could be gimballed of sorts by hanging it from a metal wire to ensure that when heeled the plants do not spill out dirt. It would need to be given enough swing room for all angles of heel. It could provide fresh herbs for the cooking budget sailor. You could bring outside when on anchor and bring inside when on passage. Dried herbs are nice, essential and easy for storage, but it would be really nice to have them fresh every once in a while. You may have to play around with herb combinations and one suggestion would be to use cilantro which can be used in many mexican style and fish dishes, such as ceviche, which is an excellent way to keep fish. Then, to make it organic, all you need to do is use organic fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, which you can buy or even possibly make to keep it safer to eat and more organic.
If you have any suggestions let us know, and tune in for pictures of the boat model of the indoor or portable herb garden and our suggestions on other growing methods on a boat.