Well, at least I tried.
I read the books and created my own compost from organic materials. I followed all the instructions I read or was offered by my expert friends. But in the end, it was utter and complete failure.
It’s obvious, I am not, nor likely ever will be, a gardener.
I could kill a cactus plant, honestly.
Maybe I was too ambitious. Grow my own food, I thought. Save money on tomatoes and green peppers, I thought. Oh, I use garlic a lot, let me grow some of that, too, and onions.
If left on my own, I would starve or have to rely on just eating dirt. Thank goodness there are others out there who can just sneeze at the soil and have an apple tree grow and bear fruit. I guess I’ll just need to go out and support our local green thumbers.
Then there are just the plain old lucky ones.
My brother planted an apple tree in his backyard in Chattanooga. He is not one to tend his garden. He just plants it, throws some water on it occasionally and BAM it bears so much fruit he has to THROW some apples away. (He doesn’t do the whole canning thing either, obviously.)
My dad’s apple tree has just as many apples, and his peach tree is full of peaches. His lettuce grows, and Mom makes salads with fresh picked greens from their backyard. He rotates his crops so he has year-round goodies if needed.
My garlic never sprouted, my green pepper plant produced one small green pepper — only one!
What started out as an Instagram project of “Look how well I’m doing,” was soon replaced with “Look how cute my new puppy is,” because it was just that sad.
No onions. They never panned out. The potatoes that sprouted and flowered so well in the kitchen starter kit never yielded anything. Not one.
A friend tried to make me feel better by saying that my compost was organic but that I had used store-bought seeds for some of my projects.
It turns out he may be right, as I researched and found that because of when the peppers are picked and treated, typical seeds from a store-bought green or red pepper aren’t likely to sprout.
I later learned the same is true for the store-bought potatoes. The potatoes may start to sprout in the kitchen, as you may have experienced. But, unless organic, store-bought potatoes are treated with chlorpropham, which stops the potato from fully sprouting once planted, thereby yielding zilch — or in my case, three pathetic teeny, tiny potatoes. Chlorpropham is approved for use as a plant regulator and herbicide only on potatoes in the United States.
It turns out some of these growth inhibitors are used on onions and garlic and other things. Maybe the lesson here is to make sure the seed you use is from a reliable source, not treated or simply one hundred percent organic.
Hey, it’s not me at all, it’s the seeds I used.
But I feel somewhat defeated. It’s not the first time I tried my hand at growing plants. I got a beautiful orchid once and kept it going for almost a year, then death came for a visit. I’ve tried growing herbs indoors to no avail.
There is just one plant inside my house that looks amazing — because it’s fake!
But as a true foodie, I think I’ll give this project a second go. This time, I’ll stock up on the right seeds and get things ready to produce some winter crops like spinach, greens, broccoli, carrots, beets and cabbage.
My other friends have suggested I stick with the “Look at my cute new puppy photos,” (naysayers to the end, they have no faith). Others have suggested that since I do love animals (I have four parakeets, five cats and as of now three dogs, including my new puppy), I should try my hand at cultivating my own livestock.
Hmmm, I could try my hand at getting my own fresh eggs from my own chickens. Or, better yet, I can get a Nigerian dwarf goat and eventually make my own goat cheese. Maybe my own mini-cow and learn how to make fresh mozzarella.
Hmmm, I may need a bigger yard.
Are you a green thumb master or plant killer? Send me an email and share your success or failure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.