Let Your Garden Grow

Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. By “garden” I mean “plant.” Tomato plant to be exact.

Each spring I get a grand idea that I’m going to start a big garden even though I can’t keep a houseplant alive. Last month my sister-in-law (whose thumb is much greener) bought a planter and some gardening tools for us but it was still too cold here at the time for a tomato plant. Last weekend I picked up where she left off with a trip to Menards. Now, picture me completely clueless carting around Menard’s garden center with an almost 9-month-old and four-year-old in tow. Here’s my thought process while there: “Hmm, we need some dirt, right? Those bags look good. Nope, wait, they say fertilizer. Lindsay, stop touching your brother. Okay…there’s dirt! Lindsay, I meant it. Wow, that bag smells like poo. Organic? Sounds good enough to me.”

*Throws heavy bag of dirt in cart*

I then had to ask an employee where they kept tomato plants … which happened to be right next to me with a large “vegetable” sign above them. Don’t judge. I probably couldn’t find my own house without GPS.

In the spirit of embracing plants, I decided to pick up some flowers for the planter box that’s on the front of our house. Last year I bought flowers for it …and they died. Within a week. Yes, I watered them. At Menards, I veered off to the first flowers that caught my eye. They turned out to be begonias (which I’ll forever pair with “ornamental turtle” thanks to “The Dad Life”). According to my trusty and never wrong Google iPhone search, they should survive in the shade. Let’s hope so.

…And that’s when the tornado sirens went off. We hoofed it on inside the store with the rest of the frantic shoppers. For the next few minutes I trolled a few isles pretending I hadn’t already seen all of the faucet options for the master bath. The minute the siren stopped sounding we checked out spending about $15—woo hoo—and trucked it on home to hang out in the basement until the sun was shining about an hour later.

First, I shoved nicely placed the begonias in a few smaller planters I bought at the store. First dilemma? The planter box is really tall. The plants I bought are short. I improvised and stuck a brick in first for the plants to sit on. I’m 89% certain this isn’t how you’re supposed to put plants in a planter box but an ineffective Google search led me to articles on how to build a planter box, not actually put plants in them. Eh. With a little guy caged goobering up the inside of the entryway window and the Binz frolicking around the grass in and out of my view, I wasn’t exactly worrying about perfection. I’m happy to report a day later they are still alive (we celebrate small victories). Here’s how it’s looking:

Planter Box with Address

The blurred address is for all the creepers on the interwebz. Don’t worry, with my mad analyzing skills, I know how to stalk them right back.

What I really like about the planter box is that it serves as an address marker for the house. Kudos to whichever owners before us made it. I was curious what font was used for the address. I uploaded one of the pictures I took to What the Font and learned it’s Monotype Imaging French Script. The typographer wannabe in me thinks it’s a bit curlier than I would have picked but it really does go well with the house and I haven’t seen anything else like it around here. Now that I know the font, I’m planning to create a matching version for the mailbox using carbon transfer paper when we take on a siding project outside hopefully this summer.

After getting the begonias in the planter box, we headed out back to the deck to put the to-maters in their new home. Is there a science to this process? Most likely. Mine was to dump in all the dirt and stick the little guys in it. Just like that. The result?

Tomato Plant Fail

Wop wop. Lesson learned: one bag of poo-smelling dirt is not sufficient. I’m sure our neighbor, who has a massive and fruitful garden, was laughing at this point. These little guys will just have to hang out down in there until next weekend when I have time to add more dirt. You’ll also notice there’s green stick that, I’m sure, is meant for measuring growth. My SIL bought it with the planter and the purple dragonfly that adorned the top is now partying it up in a toy box with Rapunzel and Snow White.

Update: My sis has informed me that not only do I have too little soil, I also have waaaay too many plants. Apparently you only need one in that size. Anyone in Cedar Rapids want one (or 5) tomato plants??

The plan to feed my family from food in our backyard is slipping away into a distant dream. I guess you have to start somewhere!

In other small outdoor projects, I installed this a few weeks ago:

Flag Pole Stripped Screws

That, my friends, is a flagpole holder. The sentimental and impulsive side of me decided that we must be able to wave an American flag to honor our country and the men and women who give their lives fighting for it. It’s a bit difficult to tell in the picture, but I managed to strip two of the three screws. Whoops. The drill and I are getting to know each other better. And hey, it is functional! I probably would have cared more about messing it up if I didn’t know new siding would be going up at some point in the next year.

Rest assured future buyer of this home, 99% of projects that matter in this house are left up to professionals.

So there you have it. A more proper name for this post may have been “How to Make Martha Stewart cringe.”

Garden and/or drilling experts—any tips?