the answer: …eh, ok.

since moving to new jersey i have been trying my luck at growing a vegetable garden every year.

two years ago, we started from seed using a seed tray, and bought tomato and green pepper plants from whole foods. the seeds were incredibly fun to watch grow, transplant and follow their progress. and although i don’t remember exactly what we were growing, it definitely included mint, oregano, and chives…because it comes back every year on its own (yea! i win. wait, what? small victories, people). the peppers were small but satisfying, and the varieties of tomatoes that we grew were so delicious and beautiful. it was such a fun experiment.

last year, we started more things from seed, and planted more tomato and pepper plants from whole foods, adding hot peppers to the mix. again, the tomatoes and peppers were delicious, the green peppers still small but the hot peppers perfectly proportioned and tasty. and the seeds, well, what can i say, the seeds, they were a complete disaster. for some reason, taking care of them in the very same ways as the previous year, all of the seedlings died. and i understand how lame you may think i am after this statement, but it was tragic, and i was…sad. it was as if i raised my children the best way i knew how in my young life, and one’s now in prison and the other’s a politician in new jersey…i kid, i kid.

so after our varied success with the seed trays over two years, and this year coming with the special bonus of not having a job and needing to cut all costs where possible, i decided to get creative and think outside of the $12 tray box. i put together roughly 25 seed containers of varying shapes, sizes, and covers.

seeds

i was particularly proud of the arugula, i’m not going to lie.

for four weeks or so, the seeds had invaded our inside space. (there’s really not much to spare, so it’s a big gesture on our part that we’re willing to share our home, to let them in, to feed and nurture them. <sniffle>)

and they just weren’t growing. i guess it was the conditions, but i figured, gardening had been happening for eons before i tried, so the plants, plants that at one time grew IN THE WILD, ON THEIR OWN should grow without a seed tray, right? so i decided to put them outside. in a place with plenty of light, and that would get water occassionally as nature intended it. from the sky. i mean, i’m not performing brain surgery here. plants grow. with water and light. RIGHT?

nope.

well the rains came and they washed the spider out drowned the seeds. and killed ALL of my containers, save one sad little basil plant. which i promptly planted in a small container and gave up on. because it’s too hard to care when your heart is broken again and again.

and as for the vegetables, well we went away for the month of june. and when we got back, ready to buy, buy, buy, and plant, plant, plant, whole foods made like amy winehouse asked to go to rehab.

this story is long.

as i’ve mentioned before, i’m a snob, and i was all like, i’m only buying plants from whole foods. and planting in organic soil. i don’t know the previous conditions of the soil or what type of farm other plants come from. and, ew, gross, my plants aren’t going in the ground. and mike said, with good reason, “sssssssssshhhhhh. let’s go to home depot. and then plant some stuff in the ground.” and so we did.

and we found a bunch of plants, including sweet peppers, hot peppers, and tomatoes, as per usual, bought  some basil, and then decided to try eggplant and zucchini for good measure.

the results so far are mixed. all of the tomatoes seem to be doing fine as are all of the peppers, and much to my chagrin, the plants in the ground are doing much better than the ones in the organic soil filled pots. but what hasn’t worked…grrr…are the zucchini and eggplants. it seems every time the zucchini flowers, a cute little evil bunny comes and eats the flower off, and, well, no more zucchini. but the flowers keep coming and i’m still crossing my fingers.

so i will persevere and try my hand again at gardening next year. and i hope to pick up more tricks, and finally get the seeds to flourish like that first year.

i just hope it’s not going to be like how the movies (the movies, people) portray heroin. the first time’s an amazing ride, and then every time after is just a failed attempt at trying to get back to the feeling of that first high. but then you’re addicted and there’s nothing you can do about it until you’re in a ball on the floor, rocking back and forth, holding a fistfull of organic soil, crying quietly and muttering on and on about the heirloom tomatoes.

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