Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The One with the Garden

When I was somewhere between the ages of 6 and 8, I had this little garden kit that I planted in front of our house.  We lived in a relatively big house with a yard at that point, and there was a great expanse of space in front to plant stuff.

We had blueberry bushes to the side, day lilies planted in the front, and Dad tells me that he had vegetables around the side.  I don't remember these vegetables, and I don't remember what I planted out of my little kit (which, by the way, I WISH I could remember the brand name of.  I'd love to see if it still looks the same as it did all those years ago, or if they've "updated" it like they have so many other things from my childhood.), but I remember very distinctly that's where I planted everything.

Incidentally, that's also where I planted the little seed I grew in Sunday School.  Did you ever take a bean of. . .some sort, I don't remember exactly what, and wrap it in a wet paper towel and watch it sprout?  In Sunday school, it was to demonstrate growing as a Christian with Jesus in your heart or something along those lines.

When it had sprouted a fairly good amount, I took my Jesus bean around to the side garden and planted it, expecting. . .I don't know.  A giant beanstalk plant that would be awesome?

That's not what happened.  It shriveled up and died.  I prefer not to consider the religious implications of that.

Anyway, despite my OCD, I've always loved plants -- planting them, digging in the garden, picking what grew, etc.  (I have gardening gloves so I don't have to worry about dirt on my hands.  And even while I'm wearing them, I occasionally wash my hand in-glove.)  Last year, I had some great flowers on the porch (we live on the third floor of an apartment building), and they grew nicely, were pretty, all of the things you want from a flower.  I didn't keep the tags, though, and I don't know if they were annuals or what, but they died a pretty heinous death in the cold winter months.

This year, I decided that, along with my flowers, I'd grow herbs, so I picked up 6 herbs and a really cute herb-growing-pot.  I got sage, basil, mint, cilantro, oregano, and rosemary.  I paid $3 for each of those, and considering that when I cook, I often use herbs and every time you go to the store to get herbs for ONE recipe, you're paying $3-$7 for herbs that are most likely going to die a sad death in your fridge once you make your recipe, it just made good sense to grow my own.

But it wasn't enough.

So when D and I were at the Farmer's Market a few weeks ago, I was looking at a tomato plant, wishing I had a place to grow vegetables.

"I can build you one," he said, nonchalantly.

"You can build me what?"

"A garden box.  I can build you a little box that you can grow tomatoes in.  We can go to Lowe's this afternoon, and if you'll buy the stuff, I'll build it."

Sounded easy enough, and I know he's good at stuff like that, so I decided, yeah, OK, let's build a garden box.

I bought the tomato plant, and D bought two varieties of hot pepper: jalapeno and cayenne.

When we got home, he sketched out this thing with dimensions and everything, we figured out what soil, etc. would be needed, and off we went.

We bought a bunch of lumber, soil, and other building stuff (along with a strawberry plant!) and he went to work.

The green netting stuff is to keep the birds out.  I have a bird feeder on the porch, and my attempt to grow zucchini last year was thwarted by birds eating it.  Incidentally, the feeder is now on the floor of the porch, and we've hung up hummingbird feeders.  It's a lot cleaner if the seeds don't fall on the porch, and instead, just fall off the balcony altogether.


How amazing is that?  The fact that he just made this whole thing up in his head amazes me.  I would have ended up making the lumber into firewood and throwing everything else off the balcony.  (If you notice it doesn't look like we're that high up, it's because the view is deceiving.  If you look down, you see that the second floor is right on level with the grass, and the first floor is, technically, underground.  We're much higher up than it appears.)
This picture was taken a few weeks ago, and I haven't taken one yet of the door he built.  He installed a couple of hook holders on the sides, and the door looks exactly like the other three sides except it has hooks that hold it on.  It's really a remarkable piece of work.
In the row closest to the camera, on the left, I planted beet seeds.  They don't look like they're doing so well currently, but we'll see.  D wants to start juicing, and apparently, beets are an important part of that.  To the right, closest to the camera, are jalapenos.  Away from the camera, from left to right, are tomatoes, cayenne peppers, and strawberries.  Most everything's growing nicely, and there are a couple of buds on some of the plants.  We'll see in a few weeks.
Incidentally, if we lived at any other place in that building, the sun would be blocked for most of the day, so it's pretty cool it worked out that way.
Here are my other plants:

(See the birdhouse, and where those generators are?  That's STILL not the ground floor!)

I put those 'bouquets' together from individual flowers I bought.  The top row of herbs is, closest to furthest, cilantro, rosemary, and mint and the second row is sage, basil, and oregano.

I'm pretty excited for my new vegetable box, and for this year's plants.  Here's hoping everything grows!

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