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Grow Something Anyway

I forgot to water the plants…again. We are growing thyme, tomato, bell peppers, basil, kale, sage, peppermint, aloe, chard and rosemary. Once upon a time we also had seedlings of spinach, tarragon, and a few other herbs I can no longer recall. They didn’t last for very long, a couple of minutes, tops. The aforementioned plants that we still have, were planted in the summer (with the exception of thyme which we have had for about a year), but only now are thriving. Kind of. Tomato and the peppers will probably never bare fruit. The kale and chard are permanently wilted. The basil stems are all woody – our neighborhood nursery guy said something about poor drainage… O_o. I just checked in on rosemary and said my final goodbyes. But aloe and thyme and doing GREAT and mint made a serious comeback.

Perhaps claiming that our plants are thriving is a bit of an exaggeration. They are alive and add much needed greenery to our apartment, blocking the south west concrete exposure. In our defense, our apartment is hot all year round. At best the temperature is 80, at its worst we are easily into the 92-95 range. I love heat, but this is ridiculous. The summer is the worst, even with running the AC and, because we live in a building, we don’t control the heat in the winter. Everyone who visits loses 10 pounds.

When we decided to expand our gardening efforts it was early summer. Water, check. Sun, check. What could go wrong? Fertilizer…right, right…let me run back to the nursery guy. Six inches of rocks for drainage per plant, really? I can’t carry that big a$$ bag of rocks home, we’ll make do with two. Some people talk and sing to their plants, that sounds like fun, we can do that. I’ll even raise you an occasional rain dance. You may also want to pay attention to the PH level of the soil…umm. You know what, we’ll just wing it.

Despite the challenges, winging it has been fun. Learning the language of plants in this capacity has been an interesting process. We can tell when they are unhappy and undernourished because they look really, really sad, all wilted there on the windows sill. Leaves and stems turning brown are also signs that something is out of balance. Following the suggested water schedule provided on the seed packets did not nourish our babies. In fact, it killed a few, as they responded best to daily watering during the summer months. It took us a while to learn this, but we’re getting the hang of it.

With Fall here we are having an easier time keeping up with their needs, so I think we’ll gather our courage to plant more seedlings and see how they fare. Now that the kale box is all but empty, we have plenty of room to experiment with spinach again. I think we’ll go wild and even plant a moringa tree (http://www.ilovemoringa.com/). Yes, I said tree!

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