Thursday, April 23, 2009
My Little Green Thumbs
While at the store several weeks ago, I came across a temporary cardboard display box selling seeds. I realize that there are many, many of you out there that meticulously plan your gardens, shop around for seeds, build fancy boxes and the like, but I just want to let all of you know that I am not one of them; But the seed display was tempting. All those pictures of colorful flowers. All that yummy produce. All the things that the miserable winter had allowed you to forget right in one place. I closed my eyes and decided right then that I would just get a few.
Seed buying is apparently addictive behaviour. The rush of potential from one packet of seeds is suddenly not enough to keep you feeling euphoric, so you haphazardly toss another packet into the cart. I tried to walk away, but then I thought -- if my pizza is going to have home grown tomatoes in the sauce, I ought to at least get basil so that part can be fresh too. And then I remembered how much better Mexican food is with cilantro and added it to the cart too. I concluded with parsley figuring that I could always garnish the plates with it (you know, like I always do????)
But now, I had a new problem. Madelyn was holding pumpkin seeds; Adam was holding 20 or 30 varieties of flowers seeds. I would put some back and one of them would grab another.
They too, apparently were longing for spring and summer and using the seed display as an outlet. I figured what can it hurt? It's just a few seeds. They are only about a dollar a packet.
And before I knew it, $30 dollars was gone and my kids are talking about what they will carve into their pumpkins.
Well, here is my fly by the seat of your pants, try not to spend any more money, try not to have it all be deer food garden plan.
First I read the back of all the seed packets.
The sugar snap peas and the snow peas needed to be planted outdoors right away. So the kids and I moved a lot of rocks and got those planted. They are 2 inches high (and I will post photos soon). So far the deer have not found them.
The tomato seeds need to be started in a green house. (Really??? too bad I don't have a green house!) and the herbs (cilantro, basil and parsley) can also be started in a green house.
The rest cannot be planted until the danger of frost has passed. I looked it up online, and that means not until mid May. And though, that fact is rather depressing to me it is at least a gardening instruction I can follow. I happily put the pumpkin, zuchinni, yellow squash, corn, and sunflowers away in a drawer.
Now, I needed a cheap version of a green house. So I put a large banquet table in front of 2 doors we don't use, that have lots of sun and called it a green house. Then I used leftover egg cartons, filled them with dirt, and designated 1 for tomatoes, 1 for basil, 1 for cilantro and 1 for parsley. I called the kids over, and they had so much fun dropping a seed or 2 or 3 or 9 in each hole. We sprayed them with water, set them in the "greenhouse" and waited. I warned them not to be disappointed if they did not all grow, I mean afterall the seeds were kind of cheap and our methods not exactly orthodox.
But, darn it, all of them, I REPEAT -- ALL OF THEM -- sprouted and grew. And the kids love it. They love spraying them with the spray bottle, they even talk to them. In short, my kids are emotionally attached to them. My great plan of plant genocide is not going to work. They are simply not going to go away. And worst of all -- my kids have learned to count and they know how many of all of them there are. I explained how when 2 or 3 or 9 sprouts are all sharing one little egg hole that they will not be able to grow very well. I described how we would just pull out or snip all but 1 plant so that it can grow healthy. (from the shock in their eyes, you would have thought I was explaining to them selective abortion). Madelyn even cried a little, and so now I feel obligated to find a way to make this work.
I started looking online for a cheap place to buy little planter pots (there aren't any cheap ones in my range of cheap) but I did find lots of tutorials on you tube for how to make planter pots out of newspaper. I envisioned teaching my kids how to make all of these and I did. Julianne and Catherine can do it, but somehow I have now made well over 100 all by my lonesome. We carefully exhumed the little seedlings from their egg hole bed and pulled apart the 2 or 3 or 9 growing together and replanted them. I (again, very hopefully) explained how the transplant process might be a little rough on some of our plant babies and that they all might not make it.
But, darn it, all of them, I REPEAT -- ALL OF THEM -- have transplanted successfully. I am starting to wonder how anyone manages to kill their plants, they seem to be pretty resilient suckers.
The picture above is when I was halfway done transplanting them. I have now finished all the basil, cilantro, and the tomatoes. I just can't seem to get the energy to make another 75 newspaper pots to house all the little parsley babies. I mean who was I kidding when I thought I might want to garnish my plates with them???????
But it all comes back to my sweet kids. Especially my little Madelyn who has a plan for me each day. "Mom, today is the day. I have the newspaper, and the tin can all ready for you. We just need to make a hundred or so. I will count them for you." And she does. I figure that not only will we have fancy garnished plates, wonderful tomatoes, spectacular cilantro jalapeno ranch dressing, I am going to have kids that count -- REALLY WELL!
I wish I could tell you what I am going to do with all these plants. I just have this sick feeling that I have a lot of yard clearing, dirt hoeing, rock moving, and weed picking in my future.
I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, and if you happen to see me someday in the future buying a bow and arrow or even maybe a gun -- please now that my children are perfectly safe, but the deer are in big, BIG, BIG trouble.