lessons from a non-gardener

Have you ever wanted to begin a new project without much knowledge, but also with the mindset of, “how hard can it be?”

Or maybe you put something off for a long time, swearing up and down that you wouldn’t dare give it a try, but then one day woke up with an uninvited confidence and a voice telling you to just do it.

This was me on Monday. I gave in and started an herb garden in my kitchen. It was a pretty trendy thing to do during the stay at home order, but I made plenty of jokes that I kill everything I touch, and then picked less “lively” hobbies. I even wrote very clearly in my quarantine to-don’t list that I do not and would not garden.

With way more confidence than we probably should have had, though, Tucker and I headed to the backyard with two coffee mugs, a semi-overly priced yet adorable flamingo planter, a 4-pack of seeds, and some soil. Oh and our green thumbs. Not to be confused with Tucker‘s previously infamous blue paw.

In case you decide to start an herb garden as well, I thought I would share a few things with you. They are not things I learned, because I still don’t know the answers; rather, they are things I wish I knew. It’s hard to tell if my lack of research and utter confusion will matter in the long run, because 3 days later our planters look the same- like a bunch of slightly wet soil.

Whether you’re right there with me and could kill plants before they’re ever even alive, or you are Betty Crocker with a shovel (whatever that means), I hope you enjoy this play by play of each minute of our first day of gardening. Please feel free to comment and laugh at my hopeful attempt or share some insight with real answers for any readers who want to learn from my mistakes.

the play by play

One minute in- Are you supposed to use all of the seeds? Some packs have more than others, and this is not clear on the packaging, so I just assume they wouldn’t give you more than you need….

Three minutes in- Can I replace the suggested river rocks at the bottom of my planter for old beads that my mom gave me last year? Maybe I should have waited until I could go buy rocks, but I want my herb garden and I want it now.

Six minutes in- Why does the packaging call for two types of soil? Did I even buy the right soil? Does prettier packaging actually mean better soil?

Seven- My oregano seeds call to be “barely covered” with soil. What does this even mean? How do you measure a “barely”? The other packages called for a measurable 1/4 of an inch of coverage, but oregano just said “barely.” Is my barely bigger than your barely? Does the size of a barely really matter or is it all about the motion of the ocean? (Sorry I couldn’t help myself.)

Nine- Is eating soil harmful to dogs? Asking for a friend.

Ten- For the herbs that called for 1/4 of an inch of soil… how do you know when you’ve reached 1/4 of an inch?! I can’t see the seeds, and now I’m really just guessing. Will this be a problem…

Fifteen- My cilantro calls for the seeds to be 6 inches apart. Does this really matter? Because my coffee mug is not very big. I’m going to assume this is just a suggestion if you were trying to plant a whole garden of cilantro- like maybe then the rows of seeds need to be 6 inches apart. But how do you create rows when you just dump the entire package into a coffee mug? Will this be a problem….

Eighteen- How much water do coffee mug plants need to grow? I think I found out how much water is too much water.

Twenty- Welp, that’s as good as it’s gonna get. Tucker, stop licking the soil.

So here they are. My little works of art. Sometimes all we need is an encouraging message to keep us going. “Actually I can” and “get after it” might just help me keep these plants alive. But sometimes we need to throw in the cards and buy the fake plants. I’ve got some in storage just in case.

So we’re three days into this madness, and there are no signs of growth. The package said to expect something in 10-12 days. They aren’t chia pets, so I’ll try to be patient with their slow progress. Who knows? Maybe it will even teach me to have that same attitude toward myself.

Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your plants. And husbands (specifically mine), be patient with your new gardening wife. She might even start to cook more, just to use fresh herbs! Also, do you just throw in the leaves when you cook or what?

**sigh**

Stay tuned, things can only go up from here. I think.

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