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Midnight Gardener

Challenge Accepted

By Karli LawPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
Zucchini from seed

This is the first time I have ever really tried to garden, to try and grow something that can be harvested. I figured with some free time on my hands I could develop a new hobby, or refine one that I kind of had an interest in. A girl needs something to fill her time with eh? Something to do as a stay-at-home-mom/writer. Boredom reigns when summer time hits with the kiddos and mom gets a little restless.

If you've read any of my other pieces you'd know that there are a couple things I struggle with; mental health issues and photosensitivity. Well the yard became my Zen, the place where I can wander and get some fresh air, vitamin D, and prepare my yard for my wedding in October. All things to try and ease my anxiety and ADHD, things to keep my overthinking mind at bay so I can actually be productive and not a hot mess on the best of days.

Wait, photosensitive you said?

That's right, therein lies my issue. How does one garden when one cannot enjoy the majority of the sun anyways?

Well, carefully is how. Summer isn't always my favorite time, in fact I loathe it. I have a great disdain for that big ol' ball of fire...but it does help me feel a bit better. I feel refreshed and relaxed, maybe after all these years my mom's green thumb rubbed off on me a bit. I got this urge to try and grow something, I have two decent sized planter boxes what can I do with them?

Self sufficient is the goal, being able to grow things you'd eat, even herbs count! Easy peasy right? I followed my mom's guidance (as someone who has gardened, who loves the outdoors and her own space), I started simply, I told myself, "compost." Okay cool I can do that; save food scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, things that I know won't reproduce if thrown in dirt. I don't have a bin, but I can use those planter boxes and just start throwing in the nutrients and sifting through it with my garden tools. (The garden claw became my best friend).

Well believe it or not my soil became beautiful, as beautiful as soil can be, but when you think about growing things you need to have good, smelly soil.

Smelly soil?

Uh yup, smelly soil is good healthy soil, it means that there are all sorts of nutrients at work that aid in good growth. I'm not talking stinky soil, it's earthy and organic, it smells fresh in it's own way.

My starts

I was given mint (I love mint) and some tomato plants from my mom to get started. I had attempted to grow peppers from seed but that was a difficult challenge so I opted to buy small starts to attempt; bell peppers, jalapeños, as well as another type of pepper that I'm drawing a blank about. My other half loves peppers of all kinds so anything I can get is a win in my household!

So back to the original idea was; how do I garden without having to be out in the sun to monitor them all the time? Well, first of all my planter boxes are nice and shaded in the morning, so first thing in the morning I grab my cup of coffee and go play in the dirt a little bit. I trim back some of the excess, make sure they are rooting well, and transplanting as soon as they start to outgrow their little containers. Water, water, and more water. I live in the desert side of the Pacific Northwest, it gets hot...currently we are cruising on a week of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Okay check, get outside early in the morning tend to them and make sure they are happy then spend my hermit days inside doing my inside stuff.

Sundown!

Store bought romaine, regrown

Time to check on my babies, as long as the sun is not beating down on me, my skin is happy. I don't like feeling crispy when I head outside, it feels as if I oiled my skin and was placed in an air fryer...just imagine!

So there you have it, I had become the nighttime (and early morning) gardener. It's similar to being a vampire for garden vegetables, just avoid the sun, enjoy the shade and the minimal amount of daylight you can actually endure.

Goth girl summer anyone?

I have embraced my inner green thumb, I was not meant to grow things, it seems a foreign concept but one that I was glad I have experience with now. You never know when these types of basic skills might come in handy, groceries can get expensive! I don't plan on becoming a farmer, but it was about the ability to learn to do it that appealed to me.

My question to myself was; why not me? Why can't I attempt to grow things that I enjoy eating? I have Roma tomatoes as well as cherry tomatoes, I've got 2 zucchini plants that have more than 10 zucchini a piece at this point (I enjoy squash as a pasta substitute). I also used one whole planter box for pumpkins this year, mainly because I am having a fall wedding this year and figured I could use them as natural decoration. I've got mint (because mint in water is great during the summer), basil, as well as cilantro, I did a bunch of different things because--well why not?!

Sure I had to adapt to gardening in the darker hours but hey it worked out for me! I cannot wait to harvest more, I had my first cherry tomato ripen and it fell right off the vine...I ate it right away! I was that excited and there is nothing like tasting the fruits of your labor.

So take it from me, if you put your mind to it, it doesn't take much, if you are new to gardening (like me) find something simple, squash practically grow themselves if you keep them watered and in some sun. Same with plenty of herbs, they are pretty low maintenance with enough water and happy soil.

Now get out there and learn something new, do something you never thought you'd do! Sometimes that new thing is in your own backyard.

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About the Creator

Karli Law

Jack of all trades, know-it-all, call me what you will I prefer to have a little knowledge on all things relatable...or not relatable. I like to call them my Eclectic Adventures! FYI: my music playlists look very much the same.

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    Karli LawWritten by Karli Law

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