Spring Fever

North Carolina decided to take a break from winter and spend a couple days pretending that it’s spring instead of mid-February. And as a result, I’ve gone into gardening mode. Like buying seeds and fighting the urge to buy potting soil and recognizing that the cold will kill anything I plant but wanting to start gardening anyway.

I’d hoped that going through photos of flowers and the garden from last summer would help take the edge off. And they have, somewhat.

How do you handle these unseasonably warm winter days? Do they leave you with a touch of spring fever?

Doing the Thing: a Vegetable Garden

SE smiling with baby tomato plants

The patio off my bedroom isn’t great for a vegetable garden. It gets maybe six hours of sunlight in the morning and then sits in shade for the rest of the day. Certain flowers do fine; others not so much.

But this year I said fuck it. I researched what vegetables tolerated partial sun and came away with not so definite results. Some websites said root vegetables–like carrots–would be fine in the shade. Another said that they needed a significant amount of sun. One site said peas would do okay; another said the opposite. The same was said of lettuce and basil. What all the sites agreed on was that tomatoes were a definite no.

So after compiling a list of possible veggies in my head, I ventured to Lowes. The racks of packaged seeds stood in the front corner of the store; they were next to the lawn mowers and bird feeders and the entrance to the outdoor garden area. It became clear pretty quick that I was out of my depth. I spent half an hour pouring over the tiny text on the back of seed packets, only pretending to know what I was looking at. Ultimately, I decided on carrots and peas because they appeared to be the ones I was least likely to kill.

SE's patio garden

A week or so later, I found myself in the Home Depot seed department while waiting for the weather to cooperate for planting. More seeds–basil, lavender, tomatoes, radishes, and lettuce–found their way into my hands. I knew full well the gamble I was making, not being at all positive that any of these plants would even germinate. But I did it anyway.

Planting everything took a few days and left me with dirt under my fingernails. The two cinder-block and two-by-four shelves on my patio looked more than full with planters of different sizes and colors. Even if I’d wanted more plants there simply wasn’t room. All that was left to do was wait. But I’m slightly impatient, so I checked for specks of green in the dirt each night when I watered.

Things began sprouting after a couple weeks, and now I can look out onto my patio and see so much green. There’s still a way to go before I’m actually eating what I’ve grown. But things are moving in that direction, and I’m wicked excited.

SE with tomato plants

 

 

Lizard in the Garden

I found this little guy in my garden yesterday morning. It took a little bit of research, but I believe he’s a Carolina anole. This kind of lizard is sometimes also referred to as the American Chameleon because they can change color from brown to green.

In other news, I’m back in North Carolina. I already miss Sampson and Grace, and I’m regularly talking myself out of heading to the shelter to adopt a senior dog. I’m also working on getting myself into a schedule of looking for a day job and writing, with an emphasis on the job search. Another thing that I need to fit into my schedule is joining a gym and working-out. I have a 5k in mind for this fall and wouldn’t mind fitting in another one later this summer.

The writing has been a little tough. I’m trying to get back into the groove that I found during the last half of my Massachusetts trip. I’ll make it happen, once I get back into a routine.

As I’m writing this, it’s about 10:30PM. So I should probably cut this off right here because I need to get back into going to be before midnight. Otherwise jumping back into a job with daytime work hours is going to be rough.

My Little Garden

Whenever I was put in charge of watering plants, whether they hung off shepherd’s hooks on the deck or sat conspicuously on the back windowsill, they invariably turned crinkly and brown. Sure I’d water them for a few days, but then the habit would disappear off my mental to-do list.

So when buying three plant growing kits, I didn’t spend more than a dollar a piece. Killing them wouldn’t damage my wallet too much. I picked three different types of plants: daisies, poppies, and sunflowers.

Grace and Plants

Grace supervising the replanting

The sunflowers have thrived. Either the poppies or daisies (I don’t remember which) drowned from over-watering in their little tiny pots. Whichever one I didn’t kill is growing slowly but surely. That moderate success encouraged me to pick up a few more dollar growing kits along with potting soil to replant the sunflowers in bigger pots.

I’ve since replanted almost all of the plants in bigger pots, killed three more, and decided to try my hand at growing packaged seeds in a big planter. One of the sunflowers will probably bloom in the next week or so. And I haven’t forgotten to water them too much; that’s a win in my book.

Eventually spring will decide to show its face in Massachusetts, and my little garden will be moved outside to the front step. Remembering to water them there will be a bit more of a challenge. But until then, I’ll be enjoying my mostly green thumb.

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The garden inside.