While I am some semblance of a self-sufficient adult and have even managed to keep another creature alive for a few years now, (Shout out – it’s Albie’s birthday today!) there is one thing I have historically been gifted at killing: Plants. I’m serious – I’ve even killed air plants.
I moved a few months ago and our new place has a really nice deck. I committed to Adulting real hard and setting up a nice spot out there, but once it was all said and done I knew it needed some greenery to really make it awesome. After quite a bit of googling and with fear in my heart, I set out for my local Home Depot.
I started small: a couple of herbs, some perennial flowers, a few succulents, and a lavender plant. (We have a ton of flies in our yard, and I’ve heard good smelling plants like lavender and mint actually can help.) That was over a month ago, and I’ve since added more herbs, more succulents, and a tomato plant. I feel like I went from having a black thumb to a very, very pale shade of green, but green nonetheless!
I’m obviously a level 1 gardener, but I’m proud of my little garden and really enjoying the process. Any expert gardeners out there are going to find some of these tips really obvious, but I’m sure there are a couple other kindergarten level gardeners out there that might benefit!
- Get the right plants for your light – I never gave a ton of thought to how much light a given spot would get throughout the day before. When I realized that our deck is in full sun for the majority of the day, I made sure to only get plants that don’t mind a lot of sunning. I live in a traditional row home, so our house doesn’t get a ton of direct light inside, so my indoor plants are fond of low or indirect light.
- Water them – Yeah, seems pretty obvious. But seriously, they need to be watered. Pretty much every day! I’ve made watering the plants part of my get home from work / let the dogs out routine, and it only takes a few minutes. I actually find it very relaxing now and enjoy doing it. (A glass of wine is a good partner in crime in this situation.)
- Get big enough homes for everyone – This was definitely the first big mistake I made, as the plants started to grow they didn’t seem to have enough room in the pots I got. Apparently, the size of the pots they come in is not a good indicator. (duh? Have I mentioned that I’m new at this?) My second trip to the garden center involved quite a bit of relocating of the plants I already had, and finding smaller ones to go in the old containers. Now everyone seems to find their roomy homes much more comfortable!
- Enjoy the process – It has been known since pretty much the beginning of time that gardening is a slow but extremely rewarding process. I love using the mint that I grew myself in my mojito and can’t wait to taste my first tomato! I’ve found the more I enjoy the process, the less of a chore it feels like to check on them everyday and water them. I notice if one is looking a little droopy or the soil is too dry because I check often and notice change right away, then I can react to it before its too late.
I’m definitely don’t have a perfect track record – there was one Cilantro casualty (he grew too tall and the wind blew him over) but overall, I’m loving my little city garden. Maybe next year, I’ll get really adventurous and do a raised bed! Any expert gardeners out there, please share your expertise in the comments below – I can use all the help I can get.