I'd love to experience your gardens vicariously. So if you (or others) have food-growing photos you'd like to share, I'll post them.
The white pebbly stuff in the soil is perlite. I used to think it was a plastic, like Styrofoam. I started using it to improve drainage when I found out it's a natural (well, kind of) substance ... a puffed up volcanic glass. Inert and supposedly non-toxic. Speaking of non-toxic, after reading what manufacturers make potting soil from, I opted for organic soil. Maybe it's a little better, no ground up car tires. It's certainly more expensive, 6 to 10 times more. What does everyone else use for soil?
* Clockwise from left: parsley, cilantro, basil, basil.
I should say ... the pot of parsley up there I didn't plant. It planted itself. To the left is what it looked like iced-up last December.
The pot held cilantro (or coriander) stalks and parsley (still green). I never emptied it last fall. What's growing now must be from seeds the plants dropped last year. In fact, last year I didn't plant the parsley either, just the cilantro. Either the seed package was contaminated with parsley seeds or the squirrels transplanted it on their hind legs. Pretty hearty that parsley, it grew all winter, right through snow and ice.