Community Philosphy Blog and Library

HOMEGROWN Life: Try, Try Again. My Failure with Flowers

Granted, the most useful thing about being an urban farmer is that we grow our own food.  I can make speedy trips to the grocery store to pick up staples like flour or oil, and bypass the masses with carts slowly shopping in the produce aisles.

However, the ability to grow beautiful things is also a benefit to having a green thumb.

We’re entering our fourth year of farming, and in seasons past, my pet project has been to grow nothing but flowers in our front yard.

Things certainly started off well.  I was able to grow enough zinnias my first two years that I sold them regularly to restaurants, and I was able to consistently have fresh flowers to decorate both my home and office.

The third year, my zinnias lost part of their front-yard plot to make way for sunchokes, which have their own beautiful blooms.  Although, they grew so tall, all it took was one bad summertime storm to turn the 6 foot flowers into a mountain of fallen walkway hazards.

This fourth year, I replicated my zinnia seed planting regime as I had in years past: I tended the empty bed, weeded and raked the soil, leveling it out, and made little divots for my seeds to go.  But weeks later and nothing.  So I tried again, this time with fresh store-bought seeds instead of the ones I’d saved from previous seasons, prepping the barren beds and tucking the tiny seeds into their little holes.  Weeks later, still nothing.

Frustrated and saddened that perhaps my green thumb has turned some other color, I’ve finally resorted to starting the seeds in individually-celled trays and keeping them moist in our greenhouse until the day they (hopefully) emerge.

What about you, Homegrowners?  Has Mother Nature made you shake your fist at the sky and doubt your gardening prowess?  Try, try again, I say.  Something’s got to sprout eventually.

“I’m half of YellowTree Farm, an urban homestead that I founded with my husband in late 2008.  Together, we grow vegetables and raise animals on less than 1/10 of an acre in St. Louis, Missouri.  I don’t have children.  I have animals, which is kind of the same thing as being a parent, except I eat my babies.”

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