Make it your New Year’s Resolution to transform yourself from a brown thumb to a green thumb. Grow food in 2012! Here’s how to get started on the cheap:
Save a gallon milk jug, water jug or nursery pot.
Cut the milk jug in half and toss the spout end. Poke some holes in the bottom and bottom edges with an ice pick or drill.
Buy a small bag of good quality potting soil (with perlite or vermiculite to prevent soil compaction).
Buy a bundle of green bunching onions at the grocery store. Make sure they have a quarter inch of white roots (this is critical). Use the green tops in your salad but save the white onion bulb with roots.
Fill the milk jug mostly full with soil and plant your green onions bulbs. Do not plant too deep. Plant the bottom half of the white bulb just deep enough that the onion can stand on its own.
Water with a garden sprayer attached to your hose to get the soil evenly moist.
Set outside where the onions can get sun and rain.
Check on your onions daily. Sink your finger one-half inch into the soil and, if dry, water. You want to maintain a moist, but not soggy, water level.
Fertilize monthly with used tea bags. Remove the tea from the bag and sprinkle it on top of the soil.
In very short order, your grocery store onions will grow new green tops. Cut the tops off when you need them for salads or cooking but leave the root in the pot to grow new tops. You will have a continuous supply of fresh green tops for the rest of the year.
At the beginning of the second year, replace them with a new crop from the grocery store because your original crop will go to seed.
Due to budgetary constraints, clothing is not high on my list of discretionary purchases. Shoes don’t even make the list. I know, it’s a gender anomaly but I have a lot of them. Most of my gardening shoes are $3 canvas flats from back in the days when you could still get canvas flats for $3 on clearance at the end of summer. Needless to say, I haven’t purchased any in recent years.
The above photo is representative of my collection. You will note that I have air-conditioning vents in the north, east and west walls. Both soles are also split just under my toes making it plum squishy when I encounter water.
The shoes are in great shape compared to the pair of shorts I was wearing when taking this photo. Formerly black, they are now gray with freckles sprinkled across the front from some unremembered incident involving spray bleach. A hole big enough for my thumb vents the left hip, elastic peeks out of the waistband and the southernmost back seam is about to bust out. I look at it this way – it covers my essential nakedness – and any discretionary income I manage to cobble together is going to be spent on seeds or a new plant from the Down-and-Out-but-Not-Quite-Dead Table at Lowes.
Now that you understand my priorities for discretionary spending, please don’t point at me in Wal-Mart. I am already under gawking scrutiny from the neighbors. For instance, I probably did not get this shoe photo without considerable cost to my reputation. Privacy fencing in rural neighborhoods is cost-prohibitive and outdoor activities fall victim to public consumption. I know this because I have, myself, wished to occasionally perform a little binocular surveillance on the neighbors. Alas, I do not own a pair of binoculars. Whether or not the neighbors own binoculars is irrelevant because most of them have installed barking dog alerts to make sure they don’t miss the latest installment on your particular perversions. In all likelihood, the barking dog alert caused Country Boy, my next door neighbor in an easterly sort of way, to look out the window and call his wife over to help him gape in astonishment.
“Come ‘ere Honey an’ lookee what that crazy girl’s doin’ now. She’s sittin’ in a lawn chair takin’ a pitcher of her feet! Now what in tarnation you rekkon she’s gonna do with that?”
At least he didn’t fly out the door and start hollering at me as the screen door banged shut behind him. On those occasions when I know I’m doing something stupid, I prefer to pretend that I haven’t been caught in the act.