Our greenhouse during the winter months.
Gayla from You Grow Girl has started a "creative writing club for people who love to garden," with wonderful prompts. I have decided to jump in, so here is my first post answering the prompt: Write about your first Plant.  

Gardening is in my DNA. Both my parents had incredible green thumbs, and my childhood homes and yards were always overflowing with all manner of trees, vegetables, flowers, herbs and houseplants. My Dad was a gardener and landscaper and my uncle grew fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmers markets.   Our half acre held a small orchard that had been planted there years before my family moved in- and as a small child I remember picking all kinds of apples, cherries, apricots and peaches. They usually got turned into delicious pies and cobblers cooked by my mother the same day they were picked, or saved for jams and jellies.

On hot summer evenings, when the sun started setting, my Mom would spend hours outside tending the garden. She would water row upon row of vegetables, do the weeding, then come in at night with basketfuls and spend the rest of the night cooking up her harvest. Our front yards were an explosion of color from dozens of varieties of flowers. In the spring, we would head to the local nursery and go on flower filled shopping sprees. These memories define my childhood.

These plants, however, were not “Mine.” I really had very little to do with the incredible homegrown bounty of my youth.  I left Kansas and everything I associated with it, as far behind as I could get. It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I began to turn around and look at what I had left behind. Gardening, cooking and baking from scratch, canning, simple living…  I was living in a small apartment at the time, with an even smaller patio, when the desire to begin growing our own food first hit. We had no land, so I began reading up on the world of container gardening. My then-fiancé and I bought a few terra cotta pots and some basil from Trader Joes. We also started some seeds that I had researched to be ideal for container gardening. Let’s just say that that first year was a disaster. Perhaps the gardening gene had skipped a generation. We pulled up a few pitifully small carrots before they bit the dust. Everything we had planted in our terra cotta pots dried to a crunch. Terra cotta had been a mistake, we learned. This is in the low Sonoran desert, where it gets hot. And our patio was scorching. 110 degree days on a full sun patio; the poor plants in the terra cotta never stood a chance. Only the basil somehow made it through the summer, with bucketfuls of water twice a day. 

We learned some valuable lessons that first time around, and now have a large yard to do our gardening experiments in. As for whether or not I received the gardening DNA, the jury is still out. 
3/29/2013 01:40:51 am

I am starting a new container garden for my new home this spring, and I'm worried about meeting with disasters as well! I'm trying to research assiduously, but I know I'll be making some terrible mistakes. That said, I'm excited. You'll find my response to the GWG Prompt #1 here: http://whenitsathome.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/choose-your-own-adventure/

3/29/2013 06:25:18 am

Gardening is in my DNA too, love it! It's great you got to experiment in pots, even though they weren't the right type of pots for your climate. I did a lot in pots before I had my first house too. Thought I’d share my post from the Grow Write Guild exercise… <a href="http://www.getbusygardening.com/2013/03/my-first-plant.html">My First Plant</a>


3/30/2013 02:25:24 am

Thanks for your comment! I checked out your blog and your gardens look amazing! I hope to someday have my yards looking somewhat like yours!

4/2/2013 02:26:15 am

Thanks you!

4/2/2013 05:42:07 am

I tried to grow plants on an apartment patio as well at one point in my 20's. I had visions of a flower encased seating area. The reality of that south facing, full sun balconere were dried out crispy plants as well. I feel your pain. The only thing that ever did well were my nastursiums when I brought them inside during a week long vacation. I left with a few green sprouts in the pot and returned to find them crawling out of the pot. Returning them to the balcony soon killed them off however. I was too inexperienced to realize that the conditions in the apartment were favorable, while the ones outside were not.


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    About Me

    My name is Melisa (but I go by Wren) and I might be a little crazy. I decided to quit my solid, respectable day job because I missed sunshine. And because I have had this nagging desire to control my own destiny for as long as I can remember. I took a leap of faith into a new life, starting from scratch.

    This blog is documentation of our experiments and adventures in creating a more sustainable, self-reliant urban homestead and crafting a happier, more meaningful life and career.  

    I dont know what this journey holds, but I hope that the winding path ahead includes yoga, bright colors, herb gardens and goats. 


    April 2013
    March 2013


    Grow Write Guild
    Work In Progress