This is food, potentially. Heirloom beans, organic peas, Swiss chard, summer squash. All started from seed, in these little incubator thingummies that come with soil pods. Not making this up: you just add water and then poke a couple seeds into each cup. Problem is, I am a terrible gardener. I could not grow a veggie garden (nor flower garden, nor herb garden) if my, er, life depended on it. I can’t even keep a plain old, garden variety houseplant alive. People have given me plants as teacher gifts for years and my reaction is always the same: I smile and say thank you so much, and then I turn around and apologize in advance to the plant, which I can virtually guarantee will be dead inside of two weeks. (Sorry, ballet families, if you are reading this. My secret is out.)
You’re probably over-watering, people will tell me. Or under-watering. Or there is too much light. Or not enough. Or the pH in your soil is all wrong. Or you need to fertilize. Or not fertilize.
Some people “get” it and seemingly make things grow and thrive, effortlessly. I am not one of them. Ask me to dig a ditch. Or create a serpentine pathway. Or line a beautiful bed with rocks. That, I can do. But I will kill the organic things growing in the bed if their care and upkeep depend on me. It is only a matter of time.
So I think I should get props for my unrelenting optimism of late: This. Is. The. Year. I. Will. Have. A. Garden. I will do the Vermont thang and grow my own food. Maybe. Handsome Chef Boyfriend is walking me through this process and suggested I start my plants from seeds because this is less expensive than buying baby plants at a greenhouse (although that shopping process is deliciously fun). HCB gardens. And juggles. And knits. Have I mentioned this? As time wears on I am discovering there is very little this amazing person does not or cannot do, with the possible exception of deciphering crossword clues about classic literature and opera. (Enter his classically trained girlfriend. Who cannot garden.)
Anywho. There is one leetle problemo with the beautiful seedlings in the photo, which was made a couple of weeks ago: it is way too soon for them to be this big. Don’t get me wrong, universe. I was thrilled and delighted when the first tender shoots poked their way out of the soil. I kept looking at them hour by hour, imagining I could see them growing more. And I was tickled pink the day they grew so tall I had to remove the clear plastic incubator lids.
But then that joy morphed into concern when I realized these plants–some of them, anyway–are evidently almost ready to go into the ground.
Did I mention I live in Vermont? Nothing can go in the ground here safely ’til after Memorial Day weekend, I am told. Today is April 6. Sigh.
So my first effort at growing veggies finally may be only a science project that ends up in the recycling bin. Last week I went to a big box store looking for cheap plastic planters (big ‘uns), and something to train the beans and peas on, and potting soil. Don’t spend more on the stuff than you’d pay for the food, cautioned HCB. He was right, of course, and ultimately I could not justify the planters nor the climb-y things.
So I left the store with potting soil and bamboo skewers, which I reasoned could be taped together end to end when the beans get really tall and rangy. Once home I fished around in the garage underneath my loft and found a big plastic planter which I scrubbed out with hot, soapy water.
The chard and the squash can wait a bit longer to be moved, perhaps. The rest I moved today. You can see the fruits (or veggies! ha!) of my labor in the photograph, with the gigantic piles of plowed snow still on the ground outside my second floor, south-facing windows.
I am sure my novice approach to growing things must be laughable for seasoned gardeners out there. But if any of y’all are reading this, and have words of wisdom to offer this newbie, I am all ears.
Sit up straight and eat your veggies.