Rethinking Gardening

Last year I didn’t garden at all. I was burnt out over losing the weed war of 2017. But I do love growing things. So I decided to try something different, and start small.

Just a couple of containers with some edible plants that I hopefully won’t kill.

But you’re thinking-“You live on an acreage!!! Why are you growing plants in containers? You have all that beautiful black Iowa soil!!!”

You, dear reader, have a point! After much research, I have come to accept my gardening fate due to a few main points.

First, we have an unbelievably strong weed population. Master Gardeners in the area could not figure out my weed problem of 2017. In fact, I was recommended to burn the whole area if I wanted a chance at growing anything.

Secondly, my asthma. I’m one of a lucky few who has progressive asthma (I don’t known if that’s actually a thing, I totally just guessed on the terminology). Many children with asthma get better as they age (this is true-I didn’t make that fact up). I have not gotten better with age. Every year my asthma becomes more difficult to deal with. Living on an acreage is probably a shitty idea for an asthmatic. (But it smells so much better than the streets of any city). Realistically, I need to be careful about my time spent outdoors in grassy, weedy, areas; otherwise I can physically get knocked down for a couple of days.

Third, my hands. If you read through the raspberry pruning post, you probably won’t remember that I had to stop using the shears because they were hurting my hand. I had forgotten about this from gardening, but my hands swell up and ache frequently based on how much I use my hands. This includes how much I play instruments and simpler things like typing and writing. Days after each raspberry pruning incident, my hands were aching enough that holding my drumsticks and guitar was uncomfortable. That doesn’t work well for a music teacher and a legitimate consideration of my gardening future.

So a little, tiny container garden. You are thinking-“Did you even consider raised beds???”

Why yes, yes I did! Raised beds are the ideal, ultimate goal. The financial investment in a raised bed is not an option at this point (guys-I bought a locket for $4-do you think I can buy supplies to fabricate or put together pre-made raised beds?)

I purchased three of my favorite herbs that grow nicely together: rosemary, oregano and thyme. And purchased a long container to grow the herbs. My intent is to keep the herbs growing year round.

Then, to keep it interesting, I purchased two types of strawberry plants for containers. Supposedly, strawberries grow easily in pots. And even during all my other garden fails, my strawberry plants were always hearty. I purchased two separate types, because the June berries I usually buy were sold out. So I didn’t know what kind I would like or would be successful. I purchased honey strawberries and tristars.

At first, I went to Bomgaars to buy the herbs to save money. But those seedlings looked….like they had been tortured. It was awful. So I accepted the fate of going to the more expensive (and more fabulous) Ferguson’s Garden Center. Oh guys, I could spend all day in those greenhouses! It was so hard to walk out with three herbs and three strawberry plants. I wanted allllllll the seedlings. But I did return to Bomgaars to purchase much more reasonably priced potting soil.

The transfer to the containers was simple.

First I drilled holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage. I used a drill. Nobody got hurt!

Each container already had a raised bottom to help with irrigation, so I didn’t add rocks or sand. (I hope that doesn’t mess them up!)

Then I filled with the vegetable potting soil, and added the seedlings.

Next I covered those to the top and watered them.

To avoid any shock, the plants are all in the porch right now-it stays warm in there all day. I hope to have them out on the deck within a couple of days to take full advantage of our sunlight. And I will bring them in at night to keep critters away.

Interestingly, I ended up with just enough extra dirt to plant one more seedling. So when the sales start at the end of the month and almost all the veg are sold, I’ll buy one more random plant (I don’t know what kind) and container and attempt to grow something else.

If you have suggestions on what type the third plant should be (I’m leaning toward a pepper of some sort), let me know! Let’s hope this re-inspired my once green thumb.

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