In life and love there are inherent risks when we put ourselves out there. We risk confrontation, criticism, failure, and rejection. But if we don’t put ourselves out there, we risk losing the opportunities for new experiences, connection, growth, knowledge, and perspective. Apparently, the same is true for blogging. I learned yesterday that adding Scotts Miracle-Gro to soil is not a very green gardening practice, even though it produces large green plants. One might think that would be intuitive, knowing what we know now about fertilizers. But alas, my mother used the miracle stuff in the familiar green and yellow box, and so did I. However, I now know, thanks to a friend’s Facebook comment in response to my blog post, that ammonium phosphate and the other chemicals and even elements, like zinc and copper, contained in the fertilizer are actually toxic to the soil. Ironically, I am currently studying to become a LEED Green Associate and have been doing a lot of reading about storm water run-off dispersing contaminants like fertilizers into fresh water supplies. Why did I not connect the two? I don’t know. Feeling stupid, I stand admonished but enlightened. I will seek counsel regarding natural fertilizers like dehydrated cow manure, bat feces, and worms as I nurture my new garden. Interestingly, I have also learned that there are many contradictions in green practices. Like the new compact flourescent light bulbs that need special disposal because they contain mercury and recommended refrigerants that have less Ozone Depletion Potential but greater Global Warming Potential. Go figure. It’s a start in the right direction though, and we all need to start somewhere. No one said life or love, blogging, gardening, or saving the planet would be easy. It’s all a process. A series of changes in response to new experiences. So, take a risk, put yourself out there, and dive naked between the rocks into the freezing cold unknown waters of the rushing creek with your eyes wide open. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.
I dug my garden yesterday. Broke ground, turned over the earth, wheel-barrowed away the weeds and pieces of sod, mixed in Miracle Grow Garden Soil, and raked it level. It’s a 7ft x 9ft plot of dirt. It felt so good to dig! The sun was hot, I had on shorts and a tank top, and I had done yoga and went for a long walk in the morning, so my muscles were all warmed up. I felt like I could conquer life on the prairie like Carolyn Ingalls! It was wonderfully satisfying. I took pictures of the process, and yes, I uploaded them onto Facebook. In the afternoon, I went to Barlow Flower Farm in Sea Girt, and I learned a lot from an employee there, who, rather than let me buy plants that would not flourish, counseled me on the best way to proceed. I really appreciated that. I learned that it was already too late to plant lettuces and spinach and too soon to plant tomatoes. He told me to keep turning the soil so that the soil itself gets warmed by the sun, because otherwise the plants will shut down and not grow. He suggested that, instead of taking the plants home in pots and keeping them in my house, I let them keep growing and being cared for in their greenhouse and come back in two weeks when it will be time to put them in the ground. You can be sure I will go back there and do just that. I bought some Petunias for a planter on my front porch. This morning I looked at my garden plot and imagined what it will look like thriving in the months to come and the sweet taste of a fresh tomato, crisp red pepper, and fragrant basil and cilantro grown in my own garden. That first bite will certainly be victorious!