Monday, June 1, 2009
What Hope Looks Like
This impending strawberry is a big deal for me, because I planted it. And the plant is alive, and growing, and even bearing fruit. If you know me well, you realize that this is a significant turn of events, because - well, let's just say I'm not the most adept gardener. I aspire to be. I look at photos of beautiful vegetable gardens, and admire my friend's new raised bed full of seedlings and optimism, and think how lovely it would be to fill my back yard with such abundance. And then...something goes wrong. I don't know what it is, but I've never really been able to nurture plants.
But this year, I'm determined to make it work. My older daughter is deeply interested in the life cycle of plants, and I feel it's my obligation as a parent to help her see it through. Mindful of my bleak past in the garden, I decided to try something a bit different and invested in a couple of Earthboxes. Earthbox enthusiasts claim that these things are virtually foolproof, and they do seem to be a terrific solution for those of us who have neither the space nor the gardening acumen to cultivate traditional gardens. It's simple: you fill a large plastic container with soil, then layer in dolomite and a little "trench" of fertilizer, top with soil, insert your plants, and protect the top with another plastic cover. The bottom of the container holds a reservoir of water, and the plants can absorb this water from the bottom up (which is apparently the way they prefer to do things). Once everything is planted, you just fill the reservoir through a little tube on the side; excess water drains out an overflow hole at the bottom of the container, so that even I won't be able to drown the plants.
We'll see. I have two Earthboxes on our back deck, one with strawberries and one with little bell pepper plants. And I have lots of hope.