It was a fatal day in high school when the pernicious seed was planted in my tender mind: gardening would be a perfect hobby.
Sunlight. Fresh air. Relaxation. Warm earth. Good exercise. Abundant fruit.
I should have doused the idea with RoundUp the moment it germinated. But alas... it took root and my garden fantasies have proven a much more fertile ground than my backyard ever since.
It all started with 96 styrofoam cups, strategically arranged in my mother's cake pans. I plunked some virgin dirt and a few seeds in each cup, poked holes in the bottoms, set them in her cake pans with some water, and put them in the warmest brightest spot in our house I could think of: the top shelves of my closet.
Yes, dear friends, I was a closet gardener.
But my secret didn't last long. When my sister wanted to bake and couldn't find the square cake pans, I was forced to sacrifice some of my precious incubating trays for a dish of cornbread. My seedlings never forgave me. One by one the bright spring green shoots flopped over, limp as a tantruming toddler, and they never rose again.
Of the 96 seeds started, exactly one survived. I babied it in my windowsill so long it actually grew a little cherry-sized pepper. When it threatened to die, I ate the pepper and buried the plant in the compost alongside my dreams. Gardening was a bitter disappointment.
And then I married a farmer.
Suddenly, gardening sprang back up from the depths of the smoldering compost heap to the upper echelon my interests. I was a natural born gardener! I was made for this! It's in my bones!
Old fantasies die hard.
Despite the mixed success/failure of our gardens the past few years, that little seed of interest sown back in high school continues to bloom each year, and once again I find myself on this cold February afternoon...
... starting seeds.