Where were we?
It's been nearly three months since I started gardening: or, three months since I started poking about in bits of dirt and blindly flinging seeds about without much idea as to what I was actually doing.
I moved into the apartment in November of last year, and our fifth floor, east-facing, concrete-laden paradise looked like this:
Didn't exactly say "garden" or "potential for lush growth", did it?
Now, writing for two blogs, a small stack of library books, several trips to the nursery store (plants, not babies), a handful of forums, mailing lists, seed catalogues and gardening blogs later, and I've gone from sowing my first seeds (carrots, basil and french marigolds) whilst watching "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", to this:
It hasn't been easy. It still isn't easy. I still don't know exactly what I'm doing, and I'm not entirely sure that carrots should be quite that floppy: Vegetable Viagra, anyone? But I've noticed that I actually look forward to getting out of bed in the morning, which, when you consider that just under a year ago I was on anti-depressants and living in a homeless shelter is a MAJOR achievement.
Coincidentally, I've been reading a wonderful book by Robin Shelton, "Alotted Time: Twelve Months, Two Blokes, One Shed, No Idea" which follows a similar path to me - loss of job, pathway to depression, gardening as salvation. It's also hysterically funny, to whit:
For digging to be real digging, you must have asked yourself at least two of the following questions: 1) Why did I start doing this? 2) Will I ever finish doing this? 3) Is it still acceptable to cry through pain in public? Or 4) Will I always walk like this?
I did find myself on the balcony at 1am, with a flashlight in the pouring rain, making sure that the rain was getting to the plants and bending down to smell the earth. I am now officially addicted to gardening.
I've put my name down for an allottment - rarer than hen's teeth and something that you have to leap on when the crack appears in the waiting list - joined the local organic gardening association, volunteered to run a community teaching plot (aka Blind Leading Blind), and applied to the local college to study horticulture.
All in the space of three months.
I'm still making mistakes, but I'm learning from them. And I know what I'll be doing next year when hopefully I'll make slightly fewer mistakes. If I've learned anything, it's that I can definitely grow potatoes.
It's a start that I'm more than happy with.