That was the warning I gave my roommate/boyfriend last week after digging around in possibly-cockroach-filled potting soil out on our porch. You may remember at the beginning of my adventures in agriculture, I had a whole living room and porch full of lush green plants. The living room plants have fared pretty well, statistically speaking, the outdoor plants, maybe not so much.
So let’s start with the good news: Remember the avocado plants I grew from a pit? After months of growing in water (because I didn’t have a container for them yet), the healthiest one is thriving in a small pot. Despite the Jack-and-the-beanstalk perspective of this photo, it’s actually only about a foot tall.
The tillsandia and my other no-name house plant are both thriving, despite forgetting to water them for weeks on end pretty consistently. Thank you 90% humidity!
My beautiful little succulent grew to monstrous proportions—so much so that it was top heavy and tipped over its ceramic pot—and then I accidentally dropped our blinds on it while it was sitting in the window, minding its own business. Shit. I was hoping its broken leaves might grow back, but instead, they sprouted roots! So I did a little research on propagating succulents (and by that I mean I looked on Pinterest, obviously), and apparently that’s how you do it! I planted the new babies from the blind-dropping incident, picked off the rest of the leaves and did away with the damaged overgrown mama plant altogether. Stay tuned.
…And then there’s the porch inventory:
Parsley: Thinking about making a comeback, but mostly dead
Basil: A little yellow, a little thin, but holding on!
Mint: Who knows! It wasn’t doing well at all, so I transferred it to a different pot where it thrived for a bit but now looks all spindly. I think the real problem is that I don’t use enough mint to trim it enough to encourage it to get bushy. I’m going to start paying attention to it though… Gotta get it healthy enough for mojitos in the spring!
Carrots: Sprouted, eaten by an animal just before the hurricanes. Also I’d like to clarify these plants are not in the ground, they’re on a second story porch. Who is taking bites out of them? Are there Bermuda winged rabbits no one has told me about?
Lettuce: Met the same fate as the carrots
Strawberries: This was perhaps the fruit I was most excited about. Homegrown strawberries! At Christmas! Obviously the little berries got eaten before they were even red and I didn’t get to taste the fruits of that labor at all! The plants are still holding on though, maybe they’ll try again?
Tomatoes: Ok, actually maybe this was what I was most excited about. I hate hothouse tomatoes. None of the plants I grew from a seed made it to adulthood, but the plant I purchased struggled through weather and critters to produce one beautiful little tomato for me while its leaves shriveled and died. And it was the most wonderful, most beautiful, most delicious little tomato I’ve ever eaten!
So the outdoor track record is not so great… and my neighbor’s thriving container garden does nothing but emphasize what a bad caretaker I am. I’m trying again… maybe I’ll get two tomatoes this time!