A few weeks ago, Husband decided to grow some herbs. He went about this in his usual fashion, where he said, “I’m going to grow herbs in our apartment!” and I said “No” and he did it anyway.
Before I knew it, five little pots arrived in the mail, pastel-colored in concession to my decorating tastes and his own closeted love of rainbows. Husband lovingly filled these with dirt and seeds, put water in a little spray bottle, and proceeded to tend to his little garden-to-be each and every day. Checking them, watering them. Talking to them. Attempting to put them on my desk when I wasn’t looking until he realized that the light in the bedroom was better.
In the corner, I scoffed. I know what happens when you start seeds: you put them in the ground, brimming with hope and excitement, and then the seeds fail to germinate. At all. Ever. I understood what he did not: that we had not just purchased an herb garden, but rather five useless little containers and a bag of dirt that was gonna go out the window in a month.
Me: 5 and a great big “I told you so.”
Little did I know.
About a week into the experiment, Husband came home from work, took the pots off the window, and went, “Look, one germinated!”
Sure enough, one little sprout was peeping up from the dirt.
An hour later, when we checked again, there were five.
The next day, it turned out it wasn’t one plant that sprouted, it was three of them: thyme, parsley, and mint. Of the other two, Husband assured me that one of them, rosemary, is notoriously difficult to grow. It takes three months to germinate, it would not be ready for harvesting for a couple of years—don’t worry about the rosemary.
As for the oregano, he didn’t know what had happened to it. Maybe the seeds were dead.
Fast forward a week of Husband ferrying the plants to the window and back so they won’t get cold in the night, back and forth, back and forth, taking better care of them than he does his clothing or himself, and guess what sprouted: the oregano. It came up all at once, like it just couldn’t wait to spring from the ground in full force.
Two weeks into this stupid experiment, I was feeling irritated. You know what happens to me when I plant things? They die. Doesn’t matter how much I love and water and care for them, I have a 100% failure rate. And here was Husband on his first adventure in gardening with a miniature greenhouse in our dark little apartment.
The worst had yet to come. Remember that rosemary thing? The three months to germinate, never gonna survive thing? You guessed it. Right after Husband finally gave up hope and decided to grow it from a cutting instead, what pops up but a little stalk.
The rosemary is sprouting. The rosemary is thriving.
This is a great pity, as I’d rather openly been hoping the whole experiment would end in tears and a nice, clean windowsill for me, rather than sprinkles of dirt and one more thing to dust around. Anything that makes for more cleaning is going to get resented, especially as the collection has expanded from five to nine little pots, all filled with frantically-growing herbs desperately striving to please my beaming husband.
Him: Aren’t they wonderful?
I refrained from comment as I discovered a bag of potting soil under my bureau. How many more of these stupid things was he going to plant?
I had my answer when Husband announced that in honor of his little darlings, he was going to build a shelf under the window so he could adequately expand his collection.
At that moment, certain Star Trek quote ran through my head: “There is a line in the sand. We shall go this far, and no further!”
Using my gentle powers of persuasion, I informed Husband that a shelf under the window ruining the line of the curtains would result in his little darlings committing suicide out said window one by one until either that shelf ceased to exist or he ran out plants.
Me: 1 that ain’t gonna budge, by god.
Though plans for the shelf have been shelved, I’m still left with daily texts from my husband reminding me to water them mid-afternoon. I guess I’ll have to resign myself to viewing the outside would through a small jungle, because it’s clear from the ecstatic little pots on my window that my husband, indeed, is the plant whisperer.
Any other black thumbs out there? Have you ever attempted to grow herbs, indoors or out? How about apartment gardeners? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you enjoyed reading this, you might enjoy the post How My Husband Makes Chili (And Most Other Foods).
You also might enjoy my recently-debuted novel, What Boys Are Made Of. It’s not about plants, but it does include some very black humor here and there.
Thanks for reading!