I have a notoriously black thumb.
I mean, it’s bad. If it would become any blacker, it would rot off and die, much like the few plants that I have tended.
When I weed, I always manage to pull up the plants I’m supposedly protecting from invaders. Neighbors stopped asking me to water their plants for them while they were on vacation, giving the chore to more capable eight year old children instead of my adult self.
I had a potted plant when I was in graduate school. I named it Seymour. For only being watered maybe five times, it did manage to last about six months before turning into dust.
Our yard was meticulously (if a bit ambitiously) landscaped when we purchased our house six years ago. I didn’t lift a finger to weed, till, water, nothing. I wasn’t interested. I left it to overgrow. I now use it as a way to give directions (“We’re the house with two feet tall weeds blocking the front view of the house…you can’t miss it.”)
Last year, I thought I would attempt to “learn” how to care for plants by purchasing potted herbs and strawberries. You know, when the professionals say they need sunlight and water, would you believe that they actually do? They really mean it. I completely forgot. I could stand there, looking at them, get distracted, and forget to grab the watering can.
(They were alive, once upon a time.)
(Before you ask, yes, I remember to feed the children and the animals. They don’t LET you forget them. So there.)
However, I’m starting to become frustrated. The thing is, I’m working on a farm now, where I am surrounded by growing things, even in the middle of Winter and these “polar vortexes” we keep experiencing. I see these baby seedlings in the greenhouse, and it’s almost a sort of spiritual thing, if you will. You can’t be surrounded by new life and not be moved, compelled, to participate. I’m looking back on helping my Pap in his garden with nostalgia now. I’m looking at my yard, and I see wasted space instead of viewing it with apathy. I see others talking about the bounty they hope to reap this year during the growing season, and I want to have my own harvest–want to go outside and grab a sun-ripened tomato if I want it because it is mine, my tomato that I grew (with Nature’s help, of course).
I’ve found myself inspired. I yearn to be able to join in the creation and growing process, to feel dirt between my fingers, to smell the earth, to tend, to watch something grow from the ground, from a little seed, into something that is nothing short of a miracle. (And let’s be honest…I’m not hopping on the baby train any time soon. This mama has hit her maximum capacity with little ones.) I want to be able to rely on my own work for vegetables and herbs, instead of being forced to depend on someone (or something) else for my food all the time (admittedly, I love supporting local farms, but the celery I bought from the grocery store the other day was grown by a company with “LABS” at the end of it…….my food was made in a LAB?).
So, that evening, I hopped onto the Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange websites, and I ordered seeds. There are seeds for strawberries, radishes, carrots, hot peppers, chives, thyme, oregano, basil, mint (herbs will be potted), onions, tomatoes, and peas (the peas can be potted, too, apparently). I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, and I’m sure there will be more loss than success, but sooner or later, I’ll have a harvest of my own, with renewed effort and motivation. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? The seeds of change have to be sown sooner or later.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to reap what I sow.