Sometimes it’s better NOT to know what you’re doing (aka. Why My Toddler is a Better Gardener Than Me)
Have you ever experienced of Beginner’s Luck, **? Or been shown up by a 2 year old?
Well, I have. Both happened for me just a few weeks ago.
Back near the start of January, I started really craving fresh herbs. I realized that I was really missing the sight of living green plants. I got this idea into my head that I was going to start a little herb garden in our spare room.
My head was full of visions of big, bushy herbs that I could trim and use fresh in my cooking. I was dreaming of thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary and maybe even some basil (though I’ve killed my share of basil plants over the years).
Let me back up a little to tell you that I am not a gardener. It’s not to say I haven’t tried, even grown a couple of things, but it only worked really well once… the first time, when I had Beginner’s Luck behind me. There’s a very good reason that I teach people how to work with wild herbs and I don’t teach how to grow medicinal herbs! I’m just not that good at it.
So, back to the story.
I got out my grow lights, soil, seeds and set up a cute little corner to let the magic unfold. I’d just read an article about using egg shells for starting seedlings. It’s supposed to leach calcium into the soil and help the plants grow better. The key words being … supposed to.
I got a bunch of egg shells, filled them with warm, moist soil and set them up, I thought this was quite brilliant, in the egg carton’s they’d come in. Then I dug a little whole with my finger, dropped a couple of seeds in each whole, covered it and sat back to watch the show (feeling quite proud of myself, I might add).
The next day, I had one of those parenting moments. My 2 year old was playing while I was making dinner, when suddenly I realized that I hadn’t heard a peep from him for too long. You parents know this moment, (yes?) when you realize it’s too quiet. Uh-oh!
So I wandered around the apartment looking for him, but couldn’t find him. More uh-oh. Then I checked the last place that I expected him to be… the spare room.
You see, he’d helped me with some of the set up and seed planting. Well, he spread dirt all over the floor and we called it helping.
Anyway, there he is, standing on a bedside table that he’d pushed over to the new herb garden. It took me a moment to take it all in. Around his feet was a carnage. Not dirt and broken egg shells, as you might be thinking. There was a mess of torn papers that I couldn’t identify right away.
He turned and looked at me with a face that still makes me laugh. It was a mix of excitement, personal pride and mischief. I could’ve sworn I saw a sly little smirk (which I supposed he may have gotten from me). I wish I had a picture of that face to share with you.
The black dots, it turns out, were seeds. And the papers thrown all around were seed packets, now entirely empty seed packets.
Ha ha, you little …
Realizing that he’d just started the germination process for almost all the medicinal seeds that I was going to plant for the whole year, I moved quickly to try to save them.
It was too late to take them out and dry them off, so the only thing that I could do was put them in soil and hope that he hadn’t ruined them. I put a bunch of soil into two growing trays and simply poured the seedy water over top.
I admit that I was kinda peeved. I wanted so badly to get it right this time.
Fast forward to today… all my seedlings are dead. It turns out that such a small amount of soil in those egg shells dries out really quickly and I missed too many watering dates. But his plants were thriving! Both beds, as you can see are lush, green and vibrant with mustard, kale, parsley, morning glories, and a couple that I can’t yet identify.
Tonight, we’ll do the first harvest from his gardening bounty. And I’ll have a side dish of humility and a good chuckle.
So, lesson learned. Sometimes it is better to not know what you’re doing, not try to “do it right.” Thank you, oh Divine Source of laughing at yourself. Next time, I’ll let my own inner 2 year old play with the seeds and not try so hard.
If you have a funny herbal gardening story, please share it here. Creating more community dialogue is a big motivation for me to send out these weekly articles. I’d love to hear your stories and comments. That said, please post your comments on the blog (at the bottom) rather than sending me an email.
strength & wisdom.