Something you should know about me is that I have a brown thumb. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I can pretty much only grow humans but one day a year I forget what my track record tells me and I believe I can grow something green. This usually means I decide I must drive to Home Depot and buy plants TODAY. It cannot wait. This phenomenon usually occurs when the temperature finally hits 70 degrees, reminding me that winter may actually be over and I can dare hope of spring. My day was yesterday. Before I tell you what I did, let me tell you how my experience turned out a couple of years ago…
So I got the itch on a Saturday. It was gorgeous outside. The kind of day you could wear shorts or pants, long sleeves or short sleeves and you feel comfortable. This is my most favorite weather. Kyle wasn’t home so I neglected to inform him this was The Day. On The Day this time, I had visions of planting a vegetable garden. As we all know, having a vegetable garden, chickens, and a couple of goats is SO in right now. The whole farm to table thing. Since I have an unfounded fear of farm animals (a post for another day), I opted for the vegetable garden. Now, I know I said on The Day I forget my track record but I’m not completely delusional. I had no intention of “tilling the land” in my backyard. Our backyard isn’t fenced in and I’ve seen the woodland creatures that reside there. If I were a successful gardener, they would eat up my crops before I could harvest them. Do you like my hopes of “crops” and “harvest”? It’s laughable really. I did think I could manage a box planter. So I found a small, rectangular planter and some potting soil, now all I needed was the vegetable seeds. As I was looking at the vegetables I realized it would be to my advantage to pick things my kids maybe, might, fingers crossed eat. So I picked carrots and cucumbers. I also got basil because I had heard that it was pretty easy to grow. Oh, I should also mention I bought a blackberry bush. Well, it was actually a stick coming out of some dirt that would later yield blackberries. Of course, since I was clearly a master at all of this in my mind, I asked no one for help or advice. This is my way.
I get home and see Kyle. I mention that I’d been to Home Depot because I was going to plant and grow vegetables this spring. I’m pretty sure he said something sarcastic but obviously I blocked it out. Ye of little faith. No blackberries for you. I went on to fill my planter with soil and plant my little seeds. Nevermind that I didn’t have the room to spread out my seeds 2 inches apart like the directions said. Nevermind that where the planter would be only gets full sunlight about 3 hours a day. Nevermind that carrots grow down into the soil, not up, so they probably wouldn’t do so well in a planter. Just nevermind all that.
I had to move the planter around the first couple of days after I noticed it wasn’t getting optimal sunlight. I felt like I had to keep it on our deck because we have lots of critters running around our yard. So I watered the seeds and watched little sprouts finally push through the dirt. It was magical, so I was diligent. I kept watering and watching. Now, the blackberry bush was a little trickier. I watered and nothing grew. It stayed a stick coming out of dirt. No blooms. No blackberries. Just a stick. Because my vegetables were starting to grow this wasn’t as devastating. (Sidenote: for many, many months Kyle would tell me he was going to go pick some blackberries off our bush. If I am the Queen of Sarcasm, he is definitely the King.) Then I walked out one day to find the part of my planter that had the carrot seeds was completely dug up! I was so ticked! Who knew squirrels could climb onto my deck? Oh wait. Duh. They climb trees, clearly they could climb the wood posts up to my deck. Curses, you squirrels! My cukes were starting to grow and my basil was coming up nicely. But there was problem. My cukes were so little. They looked nothing like the ones I saw at the grocery store. So I waited. And waited. And waited. They weren’t really getting that much bigger. They were even starting to turn white at the ends. It was then I figured out I’d missed the harvest. They had passed their peak and weren’t good anymore. They definitely didn’t taste like cucumbers from the store. Shoot. Luckily I still had my basil. It was doing awesome. Growing basil was my jam. Unfortunately I found out I don’t really cook with basil very much. It looked good but I didn’t even use it. Dang. So at this point I could’ve pressed on but no, I quit. I quit vegetables. I quit gardening. I quit. I stink at this.
Fast forward to present day: I can soooo grow stuff! It’s warm outside so that must mean I can grow something! I mean the grass makes it look so easy! It was brown a few weeks ago and now its green. It didn’t look hard at all. The difference this year is that I’m a little more aware of my limitations. I’m not going to start from scratch. We paid someone years ago to put in landscaping around the front of our house. They put in plants/flowers that would come back year after year without us having to do anything. These plants are my jam. Although in the last couple of years my hydrangea bushes haven’t been producing blooms. They look pretty with all their big green leaves but with no blooms it’s hard to call them hydrangeas. So last year I asked my mother-in-law why she thought they weren’t blooming. My mother-in-law is a whiz with flowers so I knew she would know. She asked me, “Well, Court, have you been feeding them?” My response: “More than sun and rain?” I’m such a good gardener. She tells me I need to feed them plant food. Oh. I had no idea. So on The Day this year, I decided instead of buying new plants or seeds, I would feed my existing hydrangeas. Can you tell I’ve lowered my expectations? I feel like I’m a little more realistic about my gardening expertise and talent. In other words, I’ve finally realized I don’t have any. I cut back the dead stuff and shook some of the little balls of plant food on my hydrangeas. Sigh. I stink at gardening. At least I’m not out a lot of money this year on plants I can’t keep alive or vegetables I might grow but won’t eat. Here’s to spring being so close I can almost taste it! I’ll just taste it from someone else’s garden this year thankyouverymuch.
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