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How does your garden grow?

June 14, 2009

My transformation into a domestic goddess is one step closer to fruition with my newest endeavor—an apartment-sized garden! Inspired by my love for homegrown vegetables and following in the footsteps of the matriarchal cooks in my family, I have decided to attempt to grow some of my own organic produce. I planted seeds for tomatoes and basil (as if that is a surprise!), as well as oregano, parsley, and peppers.

Growing your own plants from seed is more challenging than I expected. My family—my parents, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents—always had a garden growing. I occasionally helped plant and harvest the products of their toil, so you would think that I would know exactly what I was getting myself into. Perhaps I had a foolish sense of self-confidence (if they can do it, I can do it); or maybe I just forgot about the patience needed and the potential disappointment associated with starting your own garden.


Two months ago, I started the same process with much excitement and anticipation for my seeds to grow into the vegetables that would fill our table and our bellies. After nearly a week of strong growth and widening stalks, one by one, the leaves began to sag, looking weary and limp. They were fighting for their little lives and seemed to be winning for a while with a few leaves on their frail frames. At the time, I asked my mom about this, as she is my go-to expert in all growing plant conundrums (she’s humble and would beg to differ, even stating that she has a black thumb, but my enjoyment of tomatoes, basil, lettuce, and other produce from her yard is my rebuttal to any objections on her part).

Do they have enough light? my mom asked. Yes, yes; they are sitting in a window sill that get’s plenty of light during the day. Phew…not the problem.

You want to be sure not to over water them once they sprout. Give them more water once the soil is dry. My mother’s warning made me rethink the past couple of days. Hmm…this could be the problem.

If you aren’t over watering them, and they are getting plenty of light (but not direct sunlight), it could be the seeds. I had that same problem last year with a few of my tomatoes. The seeds sprouted and then withered within a week. Sometime that happens. Hearing this made me feel a little better. The past two days, I had been fretting over my dying tomato plants like a worried mother. I was so afraid I had been the one to kill them, but my mother’s words were reassuring. I’ll just have to try again with different seeds.

So, now I am once again looking at sprouted tomatoes and basil, anxiously hovering over them throughout the day to make sure they aren’t too hot in their windowsill and their soil isn’t too dry, checking their leaves for even the slightest hint of withering. And nearly every day when my husband gets home from work, I have him come look at how our baby plants have grown that day. He humors me and tries to mirror my excitement. What a good man!

If you have any suggestions for a novice home gardner, I would love any advice!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    June 18, 2009 4:04 pm

    What about the herb bowl? How is that coming along?

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