Finding my Green Thumb

When I was a little girl, I remember going to a store in our small town in the River Valley of Arkansas and picking up a little sprig of a rose bush. It was in a little water cup and I remember it’s pink flowers vividly. It’s funny the things that we remember and forget. If I remember correctly, it was planted at the house I remember growing up in Clarksville on the side of the house.

My Back Porch Garden

My mom had planted a couple rose bushes and I remember loving to look at them when they were in bloom. My mom often complains that she doesn’t have a green thumb but I don’t believe that’s true. I’ve seen her do well. Actually, many of the woman on both sides of my family have green thumbs. My Aunt Linda on my mom’s side (her oldest sister) used to plant flowers in many creative manners. My Nana (on my dad’s side) has had a huge garden ever since I can remember with all manners of homegrown food.

It’s no surprise that I have tried for a few years to find my green thumb. I had it as a little girl and I’ve tried a few times to do some small herbs in my kitchen. If you’ve watched my YouTube videos you’ll realize this wasn’t the best because I have one tiny window in the kitchen and a large glass back door. So either the plants get no light or practically catch on fire.

Last Year's Potato Plants
Last Year’s Potato Plants

Last year I started an experiment to see if I could grow some potatoes from some old and gone potatoes. The idea sprouted (pun intended) from a Facebook video suggesting I could grow a whole host of potatoes in a pot on my back porch. It was a great experiment and I loved watching the green sprouts jump out towards the sun. Unfortunately, my father-in-law came to examine them because the leaves began to turn yellow. The soil we used was cheap and from the dollar store to keep this initial project cheap. The soil made the potatoes sick so they weren’t viable. However, the amazing thing was, when I dug up the plants there were in fact, more baby potatoes! From scraps to potatoes!

This year I learned my lesson. I used some savings and took a trip to my local Home Depot and decided to go with organic soil and try simpler plants like herbs, romaine lettuce, and cucumbers. My basil ended up dying because we had a couple late freezes this Spring. It was a really weird Spring as far as typical Arkansas weather. I was quite sad because I love basil. It’s probably one of my favorite herbs next to Dill. I currently have very healthy chocolate mint, sweet mint, lavender, and lemon balm. As far as larger crop plants I have a baby lima bean plant that Madison brought from school that is going amazing as well as romaine lettuce and another planter full of cucumber vines.

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos about container gardening and I really love Gary Pilarchik, The Rusted Gardener. He has a lot of great tutorials and did a great job teaching me about my cucumbers. I also hope to use his awesome compost pipe idea if I can get my garden going in the yard rather than on the back porch. I’ve been worried with my lack of experience that I might not be able to combat the land because it’s been riddled with tornado debris twice in 2011 and 2014. There’s no telling what might be harming the composition of the dirt in our yard. However, starting by learning how our plants should look, how they grow, and the importance of good quality soil will be valuable for the future garden that is already growing in the garden of my mind.

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There’s still a long way to go before we’re able to see how this green thumb experiment will end up. Summer in Arkansas is extremely hot and they can often get really dry. Watering will be very important and managing the extreme heat. I’ve had a friend and local homesteader recommend that I bring my lettuce in about mid-summer because it doesn’t work very well with the extreme heat. Many lessons will be learned regardless and I’m so thankful to be able to go out to my back porch to grab some great herbs or more and more food.

Tell me about your favorite plants to grow where you live below! I’d love to hear from you and your plant babies.

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