Friday, May 2, 2014

Urban garden update, May 2nd.

(I'm trying something special this year and am keeping a "photo blog," telling my story mostly through images but with a bit of description added as well, concerning my first-ever year of being an urban gardener. Check the "Garden 2014" photoset at my Flickr account for the entire series, including more photos for each entry than you see here.)

May 2: Well, I finally did it -- I finally made my first visit in my entire life to a garden center! I went to this place called Gethsemane in the Andersonville neighborhood; this is where my friend Carrie does almost all of her garden shopping, and after visiting I can see why, this entire outdoor/indoor complex that is literally the size of a square city block (an eighth of a mile by an eighth of a mile). Unfortunately, though, I had this really bad experience with a sales person there; let me just describe what happened, and you tell me whether I'm right to feel that it was a really strange experience...

This guy came up and asked me if I needed any help, so I explained how I'm a first-time indoor gardener, how I've been waiting for the weather to get warmer before I bought any adult plants, but how I've been experimenting since March with a series of seeds like basil, lettuce, moonflowers, morning glories, etc. And the very first thing he says in response is, "...Yeeeeah, not a single one of those plants you just mentioned can grow indoors, so you might as well give up on those seeds, because they'll never do anything for you." And I wanted to say, "Hey, buddy, I've got ten pots full of green things at home that would humbly disagree with you;" but I could tell this guy was itching to play a round of the "Which Gardener Has A Bigger Dick?" game, and I wasn't in any particular mood to play that game, so I didn't say anything. Then he asked me what my window situation is, and I explained how I have these three west-facing floor-to-ceiling windows with no obstructions, and how I've been taking notes and can now state that I'm getting direct sun through them from basically around 1pm to 7:30 pm each day right now; and he responded to that with, "Yeah, but do you close your blinds when the weather is hot? Because if you close your blinds, that will kill your plants too," so that was the point that I thanked him for his time and walked away. So I don't know if this guy was just having a bad day, or if he has some kind of grudge against people who try to grow plants indoors, or if he's simply one of the half-million intolerable little shits who populate Andersonville like weeds (I swear to God, every time I go to that neighborhood for any reason at all, I always leave wanting to kill every person I met that day); but the whole experience was so dispiriting, and the store so overwhelming and confusing, that I didn't buy anything at all, and I think I'm going to try some smaller and friendlier garden centers next before I ever try going back to Gethsemane again.

Anyway, in other news, the green onions I seeded on April 20th have already grown taller than their plastic container, which I find pretty amazing, so I repotted most of them into a 4" container for uncovered growth. I think, though, that I maybe jumped the gun a little; they were so tiny that they just went everywhere when I tried to repot them, and a bunch of them flipped upside down and some things like that, so I retained one of my seed containers full of sprouts just on the off-chance that I accidentally killed the other two with the replanting, and am not going to repot that last one until the roots are popping out of the bottom. As always, we'll see what happens! I find it really funny, by the way, that onion sprouts grow down out of the seed casing instead of up, and that they literally push the seed casings out of the ground so that they're teetering on top of the green parts as they're growing. And in what's probably the biggest news of the day, I finally ate something from my garden for the very first time! One of my salad-green leaves accidentally got snapped off when I was transferring my pots to my windows this morning (it's still too cold here in Chicago to leave the pots next to the windows overnight, so I move them all to my kitchen every evening then put them back in the windowsills each morning), so I ate it just to see what it tasted like. And guess what? IT WAS THE TASTIEST LEAF OF SALAD I'VE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, which should really come as a surprise to no one.

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