I am a wannabe gardener.
What could be more magical? Plant a teeny, tiny seed in some dirt. Give it sun and water and food and it will grow into a gigantic tomato bush or a delicious carrot or a twining vine of cucumbers.
At least, in theory.
This is where the wannabe part comes in. Despite all my best efforts, I have not been able to figure out the sun/water/dirt/nourishment combination that will grow me a lush and beautiful garden. Every year I think this will be the year all my gardening dreams will come true and every year I’m wrong.
It’s doubly frustrating because my grandma had a green thumb that could make absolutely anything grow. Not just grow, but thrive. I was thinking of her last spring as I began plotting my strategy. Square foot gardening was going to solve all my woes. I had read the book, done the calculations, made the lists. This was going to be my year!
I started by planting geraniums and gladiolus (gladioli?) in my grandmother’s honor.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I was hoping that this gesture would invoke grandma’s presence and she would bless me with at least a pinky finger’s worth of gardening ability. But the geraniums languished in the pot and the gladiolus/i didn’t get more than a few centimeters high. Definitely no blooms.
Now, talk to any gardener in these parts and they will tell you that it was a horrible year for gardening. Too cold and wet. Not enough heat units. So, there’s a chance it wasn’t just my ineptitude that resulted in such a pathetic yield of food or color.
Still, I wondered if I should even bother trying again.
And then one day I saw an Aerogarden.
Grow your own fresh herbs on your kitchen counter! In the middle of winter! No mess. No fuss. No dirt. Just piles and piles of fresh green produce.
This promised to be even more magical than the usual magic.
And it was!
I have some learning to do in the pruning department.
I was so awed by the magical beanstalk-like growth of my basil that I couldn’t bear to snip any part of it while it was shooting up. Which was not good for the slower growing Thyme and Dill who languished in Basil’s shade.
But, that minor drawback aside, I have experienced gardening success! I have snipped enough fresh basil from my plant to make a caprese salad for our family of four. I have stuffed fresh basil leaves into all manner of sandwiches. I have alternated spoonfuls of tomato soup with freshly plucked basil leaves.
There is nothing that compares to harvesting a leaf from a plant (a plant, I might add, that I have grown) and putting it directly into my mouth. The only middle man is my hand, transporting the produce through mere centimeters of space. You can’t get more nutrient-dense than that.
I read about a woman who has a huge garden somewhere in British Columbia. She eats with the seasons. In July she can make an entire meal of cherries plucked from her tree and dropped directly into her mouth.
That’s the kind of hand to mouth existence I dream about!
So, as we move s l o w l y towards spring, I am once again envisioning a garden overflowing with beauty and goodness. If I can create such lush growth on my kitchen counter, surely I can do it in my yard!
If it doesn’t work this year, I’m going to move.
I’m sure the cherry-eating woman won’t mind.
Click on the Watch it Grow video link here to see some technologically-enhanced magic. My basil didn’t grow quite this fast, but close!