Watch with glittering eyes around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in the magic will never find it! – Roald Dahl

grow a little garden

on 05/26/2012

I’ve always marketed myself as having a “black thumb” as opposed to a green one, which sort of seems like a contradiction in terms since most of my friends & family would most likely tell you that I probably bleed green. I’ve cut myself recently (papercut…aka occupational hazard in corporte America…first world problems, I know!) and I can assure you that my blood runs as red as anybody else’s, but my ears do perk up when I hear about recycling, conservation, reuse, clean technology, green products…well, you get the point, right? Just say yes & we can keep moving right along.

So anyway, I have killed more than my fair share of plants, despite my best(ish) efforts to do just the opposite. But, I’m determined, dammit! I love the idea of picking chemical-free food that I grew myself and then eating it. No processing, no nothin’ but grown with love & sunshine. How hippie of me, right? Well, I’ve been called worse. Like a republican. Kidding!! Nobody’s ever called me that.

Renting is not without it’s benefits. For instance, when something is broken or leaking, my idea of maintenance is calling my landlord and it’s magically fixed by the time I get home from work the next day. While that is great, the big drawback is that I don’t own anything, so I can’t always just do whatever I please. Granted, sometimes whatever I please isn’t much to write home about, but still. Last year I put up a compost bin. Yes, it was plastic – yuck – but I wanted to make sure none of my neighbors had cause to complain, and none of the local beasties had a way in. And so I composted. And composted. And composted. Until one day my fiance went to take the compost out back & came back with the most perplexed look on his face.

“Uh…the compost is gone.”

Me: “Wait, what?! No way!” …running out into the back yard. And he was right. WHO DOES THAT?! Who steals a compost bin AND its entire contents?! I was fuming, shaking & about 1,000 degrees inside which showed very clearly on my red cheeks. Assuming my landlord had decided that it was an eyesore, I frantically checked my lease to make sure it wasn’t a violation of something before I called them & freaked out. To which they naturally responded “What’s a compost bin?” Seriously? They swore they didn’t take it. I’m still pissed about it to this day. Which, by the way, is not stopping me from doing it again. In fact, we put our own home-grown composty stuff on our brand new garden.

I was not without reservation when I decided I really reeeeeeally wanted to start a garden, especially after the compost incident. This time, I covered my bases. I asked my landlord – in writing – if it was okay to start a small container garden and a new compost. After they said yes, I started researching container gardens. (Side note: refering to them as “pot gardens” does not exactly convey the right message. Raised eyebrows and giggles, yes, but an herb & veggie oasis isn’t exactly the mental image people get when you use that terminology. Well, herb, maybe…oh nevermind!) I came across what I thought were two of the coolest ideas! And because I am uber cool(ish), I decided to go for it.

First, we went for the herb garden. Legal herbs. So, I went to Target & bought a canvas over-the-door shoe organizer. Then, I went to the local nursery and picked out herb seedlings and bought organic seeds from Lowe’s for the herbs I couldn’t find at the nursery.


At home with some organic potting soil, some home-grown compost and some good old fashioned dirt, we started our garden by hanging up the canvas shoe thingy and filling each pouch with some dirt and either seedlings or seeds. We topped it off with a hearty watering, which actually required us to get on a chair for the top row since we are both really short. (read: totally humbling)

Then, like any normal people, we checked on them incessantly for the first couple of days. Especially the green beans we put in the pots on the patio…those were looking a little sad and we were worried they might not make it. I sent my fiance a text and asked him “is it weird that I went to check on the garden this morning & thought hello little plant children to myself?” To which he replied “nope because when I was watering them I kept thinking now we have 15 kids!” That’s why I’m gonna marry him…we are of such a like mind (except when it comes to video games and scary movies).

I’m happy to report that after 2 weeks, our plant children are growing happily & GREENly! I didn’t kill them! In fact, some of the herbs look almost ready to harvest. For that I will require something akin to “Herb gardening for Dummies” or for complete idiots or whatever. Or Google. I google everything. Seriously.

Our next adventure will be using recycled pallets for a raised garden bed. Stay tuned for that one!! And in the meantime, feel free to send all your healthy-plant-growing good ju ju my way. Maybe this summer I’ll get a metaphoric thumb transplant!



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