When we moved on a boat we knew that we didn’t want to become these I-never-wash-my-hair boat hippies, but still catch some fish, have a boat garden with some herbs and still stream a movie in the evening using a high speed wifi connection. This is the direction that we think would be best to take. It’s always about finding the balance between what a man has made that you can benefit from and making your own choices. The Earth also needs the Sun and moon to function properly.
One thing that goes together with self-sufficient living is growing your own food. I knew right away that I want to plant some herbs so that we’d have some fresh basil to put on our omelette when on the way. One of the reasons was also that back home I had tried to grow herbs in containers on a window lane a couple of times but every time they just ended up like string lines stretching towards the little sunlight we see in early spring. Malta has plenty of sun, even in February.
On board the possibilities for having a boat garden are rather limited cause you have to keep them from smashing to the walls when tacking, not have any splashes of salt water on the plants and still provide plenty of sunlight for them to flourish. As we are still in Malta at our safe berth in a marina in Ta’ Xbiex it was quite easy to buy some foil, seeds and containers to grow the plants in. At first I got two of these, but went back the next day and bought some more – greedy for herbs. Martin was sweet enough to help me with securing the containers to the lifelines, life at the extreme, he has. Finally I got basil, spinach, rucola, dill, parsley, coriander and rosemary in dirt.
With a help of our really helpful label machine I named every area of soil where hopefully I could soon see some action going. And after five days or so I saw first guys – rucola – outrunning its neighbours. I was quite happy to see that at least something was showing signs of life. The next up was basil, then dill, parsley, spinach and after a long time (two weeks) I finally saw coriander, one of my favourite herbs of all time. I could eat it with everything. Rosemary staid put, nothing came out of the seeds. I guess it liked its dark moist cave to sleep in alone forever.
So for now I have a quite of a jungle already and tall enough to harvest. Meanwhile, the basil I bought from a local flower shop just plain died on me. I googled and it seemed it was already infected with a mildew when I bought it and it was wise to get rid of it all. Point said – have to do everything yourself.
When browsing, I found some other quite inventive ways for growing herbs aboard, even tomatoes (upside down). In the end I don’t know if it’s worth all the hassle when you have couple of vegetables, but taking up precious space on board. Even with herbs – only now I started thinking that it’s actually pretty pointless to grow leafy herbs like rucola or spinach in your boat garden, cause after two months of nurturing and petting and making everything you possibly can to keep them safe from sea water, excessive sun, wind etc, you basically get two portions of salad, cause you just can’t grow fields of them on your boat. Yes you can wait for a new patch to grow but it takes some time. But basil, thyme, rosemary (will try again) you need only for flavor, so getting these seeds is a wise choice to make.