You know how I’m an aggressive taker-on of hobbies? Well, two weeks ago, I decided that I was going to learn how to grow my own herbs.
I’ve vaguely had an interest in gardening, perhaps because my parents are excellent gardeners andmy grandparents gave me the “The Secret Garden” soundtrack on cassette tape. By “had an interest,” I mean, I’ve occasionally pinned pictures of windowsill gardens on Pinterest. Even less frequently, I’ve said things like “I’d like to have a window box for herbs.” or “I’d like to be good at growing roses.” or “I think I’m going to learn to plant my own tomatoes in raised beds.” The level of commitment attached to these statements was roughly on par with me saying “I wish I were a celebrity so that I could write a memoir that the general public would think was hilarious.” (By the way, I totally don’t want to be a celebrity.)
However, last weekend, I was struck with a sudden and intense urge to learn to grow things. Not anything crazy, just basic herbs. Poor Hus-friend was enjoying his lazy Saturday afternoon in his recliner. Meanwhile, I was on my computer, frantically shooting off Internet queries like “HOW TO GROW PLANTS” and “GERMINATE HERB SEEDS HOW!!!!” Then I announced with great ceremony that we were walking to the local hardware store and buying supplies.
I went to the hardware store and wandered around mostly aimlessly, picking up things and saying, “Is this right? What size pot/bag of potting soil/seed packet/watering can do I need?” to the skeptical employees. We ended up with a five-pound bag of potting soil, cilantro and parsley seeds, and two hideous, khaki-colored acrylic pots because while I am incredibly motivated, I am also very cheap.
Part of the Internet told me to soak the seeds before planting, so I left them out in cups of warm-ish water while we ran Sunday errands. Maybe the Internet said for 24 hours, but it seemed like eight hours were sufficient, and I am impatient, so I got right down to planting.
Now, this is where I ran into true problems. The Internet says things like “Plant seeds 1/2″ apart” except then the reality of things presents you with contradictory facts: The pots in which you grow your windowsill herbs are not big enough to allow you to plant every seed in the packet (There are, like, billions!) 1/2″ apart. You would need a very long or wide tray to start each seed 1/2″ from its neighbors. I ended up guessing what 1/2″ looked like and dropping 3-4 seeds in each hole.
Okay, and also, the back of the seed packet told me to plant the parsley seeds (which are, like, tiny grains of rice!) 1/8″ deep. 1/8″?!? IS THAT EVEN A REAL DISTANCE?? NO, IT IS NOT.
So here I was, trying to plant, like, 100 seeds 1/2″ apart and 1/8″ deep in a pot that could probably hold 20-25. I know math, and this was not happening the way the Internet told me.
Meanwhile, I had soaked the seeds, so they were all wet and clumpy. I also lack fine-tuned dexterity, so the seeds were sticking to my clumsy, wet fingers instead of dropping neatly into the 1/8″ furrows that I had so painstakingly attempted to make in the potting soil. Then I’d try to brush the hair out of my eyes and get seeds and bits of potting soil on my cheeks. When I tried to delicately sprinkle water over the finished pots, the 1/8″ of soil just washed away, exposing all the seeds.
I felt the onset of rage, and as I squatted over the hideous khaki pots in the kitchen, the following conversation took place:
“THIS IS SO DUMB! GROWING THINGS IS DUMB!!” I yelled at Hus-friend, “CAN’T I JUST THROW THEM ALL IN THE POT???”
“Stop doing it then. I’m sure that’s fine. You’re getting frustrated,” responded my ridiculously patient and good-natured husband.
“I HATE THIS! SOMEONE JUST NEEDS TO TELL ME *EXACTLY* WHAT TO DO AND GIVE ME PRECISE DIRECTIONS FOR GARDENING,” I raged back.
“Gardening isn’t precise,” replied Hus-friend (whose mother, by the way, is a master gardener.)
“ARHAGHDJKSJREWLSLSJIEIH!!!” I cried, throwing the rest of the seeds into the pots and unceremoniously dumping some potting soil over everything and washing my hands of the whole project.
(“I live with an insane woman,” thought Bodger.)
For the past two weeks, the booger-colored pots have sat next on the windowsill, flanking the leafy basil that we bought at the grocery store. Except over the weekend, a real miracle happened…
…shit came up out of the ground!!!!!!
Oh WHAT! WHAT! THIS PARSLEY IS TOTALLY HAPPENING!
You can tell that one side of the pot is getting more sun than the others, especially as the little seedlings are stretching in one direction. Eventually, I am told (by the trusty Internet) that I will have to thin the seedlings to a certain distance apart so they don’t compete for each other’s resources. That may be a heart-breaking experience, snipping or pulling out the little plants, but then again, I want my herbs AT ANY COST!
Sorry, Mother Nature, for doubting your ability to make new life happen in adverse and rage-filled conditions. You’re a trooper.