I started a garden. It’s been a long time coming, but here we go. And it wasn’t a completely random decision (shocker, I know – because I definitely make a lot of those). I decided to start a garden for a couple of reasons, actually.
Reason one. With all the uncertainty surrounding going out in public, our food supply chains, and just life in general, I figured now was as good a time as any to get started cultivating (no pun intended) this particular skill. Having vegetables and fresh herbs at my disposable has been a thrill. I told my mother I felt like the Barefoot Contessa going out and gathering things to spruce up my meals. Speaking of my mother…
Reason two. My maternal grandmother, more affectionately known as “Granny” has what I would call an extreme green thumb. She can grow anything. Some of my earliest memories of Granny include plants and food from her garden.
I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. So when I inevitably hurt myself playing outside, she’d treat my scrapes with some of the aloe she kept in the kitchen window sill. When I wanted a quick snack, she’d make me tomato sandwiches – from the most tomatoey-tasting tomatoes I’ve ever had in my life – picked right off the vine behind her and my Papa’s house. (I didn’t always understand the greatness of tomato sandwiches, but once I knew, I knew.)
I can tell by how she always has us watching the public television gardening show when I come to visit that she really loves it. Right along with cooking and letting people know exactly what we’re thinking with just one look, I’d like it to be just another thing we share.
I’ve always wanted to see if even half of her gift with plants had trickled down to me. Now that I have the time, opportunity, and all the motivation in the world to get started growing my own food, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
I went to Home Depot, Target & Lowe’s and bought the following:
2x olive planters (I had a few smaller colorful planters already in the closet. Big Lots had planters on sale for 20% off so I picked up a couple more this past week.)
Miraclo Gro plant feed
Vegetable and Herb organic feed
Seedlings (mint, basil, tomato plants, lemon thyme, sage, rosemary)
I already had:
Another round planter
Other things that might be useful:
Moisture reader? or Moisture-controlling soil
Getting set up
I’ve never had a problem with getting my hands dirty, so this was actually quite fun. It took less than an hour to almost-fill my planters and transfer each of my seedlings over into their new homes.
I carefully turned each one over to get it out of the small, plastic container from the store. Loosening the root ball is key (I heard), so I made sure to do that. Carefully checked the grow notes on the tags that came with each plant. Then checked them again. Filled the planters with more soil, and watered them again (again, I heard this was the way to help them adjust to the move.) My patio gets more than the 6 hours recommended for most of my seedlings – great. I used an app called Flourish to check the lighting on my patio, and it was satisfactory – great.
The next update will be me trying to grow something from scratch, but for now, these babies I got from Lowe’s (since starting the garden, I’ve picked up a couple from Home Depot as well) are perfect and super easy to grow.
If you’ve ever lived in North Carolina, you know how the weather is. So I’ve been very diligently checking the weather app to make sure I don’t water on a day when it’s going to rain. Alternatively, if it decides to be 75 – 80º F all of a sudden, I make sure to check moisture levels in the afternoon.
Beyond that, maintenance has been pretty much nonexistent. They are plants. As long as they have water, food, and sun, life is good. I mentioned the moisture-control soil mix earlier because that would really take even more of the hassle out of taking care of your garden. I kind of like having to pay attention a bit more, but it’s definitely convenient and will be great for your peace of mind.
After reading more than a few articles about turning scraps into more food and being self-sustainable, I’ve tiptoed a bit into that territory. Onions. Green onions, specifically. It doesn’t take much for them to sprout in the kitchen, so I just know it’ll be a breeze when there’s soil, water, and nutrients involved, right? Right.
I have to round out my herb collection, so I believe a hanging planter is the next move. I don’t have a bunch of space on the patio, and I want to reserve the right side for a workstation for repotting and taking food photography outdoors.
So the hanging planter idea has me on Pinterest a LOT. Y’all know I love a good DIY project, so I’m excited about getting that going. I’ll fill it with all of the many varieties of parsley, oregano, thyme, etc., and all will be right in my patio garden world. Stay tuned!