this spring, when thinking of fun things for my kids and i to do around the house, i toyed with the idea of a garden. i was rightfully apprehensive – black thumbs tend to run in our family. plus, my experience with pruning is legendary throughout the neighborhood: i went out one day to “trim back” this cute little tree at our last house and left a bloody stump in my wake. i think i went OCD on that poor tree.
to make matters worse, i like results and fast. i know for a fact that i cannot speed up this gardening process — was i setting mysef up for misery, frustration and failure?
in hopes of conquering the negative energy and turning over a new leaf, i researched ways to introduce the subject to a toddler and include him in the process. with him watching, i was pretty sure there was no way i could mutilate a plant. i looked up rookie-proof vegetables and landed on zucchini and basil.
we grabbed a small plot on the end of my son’s dirt pit and roped it off (ok, it’s yarn – but you get the point). we turned over the soil and checked the consistency: not too much clay, rocks or sand… i was optimistic. we got the organic zucchini seeds for free from a friend whose sister is well connected in the world of organic seeds… i didn’t even know such a world existed until now.
around the same time, i spotted some nice looking basil at the farmer’s market in town. i asked what i thought were decent questions of the farmer about light, water, soil, etc.. and walked away feeling good about my $3 purchase and more educated. after the last frost, my son helped me plant the seeds and the basil. it took about 3 minutes total. it was a bit of a let down after all the prep work… but i am new at this, so what do i know?
we watered daily. we made sure weeds did not invade. we trimmed back the basil and “thinned out” the zucchini. did i mention i am learning new terms in this process?
here is how we’re doing so far…we planted 2 zucchini plants. one is looking good, the other looks a bit more charlie brown-ish. we’re hoping the good one thrives! as for the basil, things are not looking promising. we had some bugs attacking the leaves so i made a homemade insecticide. unfortunately for me, combined with too much sun, this recipe fries out your leaves. way to go, rookie.
if you haven’t figured it out yet, i am curious by nature and for once in my life have a little bit of time to learn more. i took a few moments during naptime this weekend to read online about how to trim back the burned out leaves in attempt to continue the polination and growth of the buds.
a few days ago, while the kids napped, i headed out back to try to salvage the basil. i meant to take about 2 minutes and blow through the task and move onto other things reserved for naptime… but something happened. as i sat there plucking and trimming, the sweet smell of basil took over. i had never smelled something so potent in my own hands – that i grew – in my own garden. i slowed down. i took my time with each plant… looking closely and giving them each a little undivided attention.
i ended up sitting there for almost 15 minutes without knowing it. i won’t lie to you: some of the basil plants are goners, but a few of them may flourish. only time will tell.
when i finished, i came back inside refreshed and with a little bounce in my step. slowing down and smelling the basil drastically improved my outlook on the whole gardening experience. i am again optimistic and hopeful that with a little extra love, our charlie brown plants will prosper.
so far, the costs associated with this venture are at $3. i have not been in therapy but i hear it costs a lot more.