I can’t even begin to describe the scene that occurred on my back porch yesterday afternoon, but I’m going to try my best. It was like any other day, I filled up my water pitcher and went outside to water my containers. As I opened the door and turned the corner toward my boxes, I saw some small green things poking out of the center box. I ran over to my Earthbox, and at those small signs of life, I jumped up and down and did a little happy dance. I ran back inside to grab one of my roommates off the couch and dragged her out to show her my emerging sprouts. For the rest of the night, any visitors to my house were shown this same courtesy, each of them having approximately the same reaction (oh, that’s nice). They did not break out into a little wiggly dance at the sight of my sprouts as I did, and I realized that it’s because they didn’t plant them. They had not buried seeds into the ground, hoping and yet doubting anything would ever come. They had not spent the last week watering and peering into the dark, damp soil, waiting for a sign of life. I had. And that’s why these sprouts made me do a happy dance.
So after the carrot sprinkling debacle I opened my next pouch of seeds, and a choir of angels came down from heaven and began to sing Hallelujah. Well, not quite. But I think I did a little happy dance in my parking lot. Anyway, seeing the pea seeds was like a gift from heaven. I was so careful with them, placing them one by one in little rows and sections. I felt like a real gardener. Then the bean seeds were the same, and I was on an anal-retentive, perfect row high. The spinach seeds weren’t as user friendly, but I tried really hard to get them into rows as well. My main concern with this box is the plants’ proximity to each other. I bought bamboo rods for the peas and beans, but I’m afraid the plants are all going to squeeze each other out. I’m going to have my own season of Survivor right in my Earthbox. I guess I’ll have to wait and see who reigns supreme.
Maybe I was just tired from my laborious row planting, or maybe it was my laziness coming back to me, but whatever caused it, I went back to my old sprinkling ways when I got to my herb box. They’re herbs, they’ll be fine, right?
Last year I transplanted everything I grew from a friend’s garden, there weren’t any seeds involved. It was so instantly gratifying, to be able to pick basil the day I planted it. But now, at the end of my (three part!) planting process, my boxes look exactly like they did when I filled them with compost. I know gardening is supposed to be satisfying, but this just felt like thankless work. Oh well, I have to go water my containers now, we’ll see if anything grows!
When last we spoke, I was returning to my house from the free compost center, filled containers and all. This part, the planting, was what I thought would be the easiest. Just put the seeds in the soil, and that’s that. Due to lack of space, planning, will, etc., I did not start any seeds indoors, so now, in April, I was just going to put them all in soil and see what stuck. My garden plan (or what there was of it) is as follows:
In the small container, an herb garden: Basil, Dill and Rosemary.
In the Earthbox, above ground veggies: Peas, Spinach, and Beans.
In the large plastic container (which is probably terrible to plant in, but like we discovered before, I’m cheap and it was cheap): Carrots and Green Onions.
So with my lack of experience, I guess it won’t surprise any of you that I was shocked by the size of carrot seeds. They are so small, and so oddly shaped! I was wearing these bulky dollar bin garden gloves, and I could barely pick them up one at a time. In fact, I couldn’t pick them up one at a time. So I have to admit, here and now, that I sprinkled my carrot seeds. I hope that you respect my honesty, after all, I could have lied to you all and said that I placed them perfectly spaced, individually, exactly as the packaging told me to. But I would be lying. And then the sprinkling caught on, and the green onions were sprinkled as well. I went back and covered them all with soil, but if the carrots actually grow, I think it will be a miracle.
So after a trip to the local free compost, and an afternoon of trying to pick up really small seeds one-at-a-time, my containers are planted. I can’t tell you how exciting and nerve-wracking it is to have completed this. I’m terrified about what is going to happen next. I suppose, in order to explain my mixed emotions, I should start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). I have to decided, for your entertainment, to make this a multi-part series. Because too many humiliating things happened in my path to a garden to fit in one entry.
First, I must tell you how embarrassed I was pulling up to the compost pile. This is compost made by my local township from recycled materials, which is exciting because I literally don’t have a yard, so composting is nearly impossible for me to do (while keeping my roommates). The other exciting part, besides the fact that it’s organic, better for my plants, blah blah blah, is that it is FREE! As you will come to learn, I am cheap. So I detest bagged soil for it’s additives, but mostly for it’s price. Anyway, I pulled up to the pile in my little Camry, and see nothing but giant pick-up trucks with burly men shoveling compost. So picture me, backing in my Camry, pulling out my tiny containers, and shoveling daintily with my snow shovel (no one at my house had a shovel, so this was my best option). Needless to say, I felt like a complete priss, and I would have taken a picture for you all, but then I think they would have actually burst out laughing at me.
I have never had a garden before. When I was 8 I tried, but once I got my pretty white metal mini-fence up and my cement bunny was in place, I kind of gave up on the whole thing. For me the fun was in decorating, and once that was over I lost interest. Last year was much the same way, I got a wonderful Earthbox and planted all of my favorite herbs, but once the planning was over I kind of forgot that I needed to take care of it. My Earthbox dried up, and I failed for the second time as a gardener.
I know a lot of you out there are like me – you’re new to gardening. The experienced gardeners do it because they get something spiritual out of gardening. Us? We are trying this year because growing is cheaper than buying, because Michelle Obama is doing it, because we’re burgeoning foodies who love fresh basil. Maybe someday we’ll come to understand the spiritual side of gardening, but for now, we’re going to try our best to grow some herbs, and maybe even some veggies. We might fail (in which case we can just run to the nearest farmers market), but I want all my newbies out there to join me this year, because together, we might just succeed.
Because I feel like no blog post is complete without pretty pictures, and my containers are yet to be filled, I leave you with this…