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    Yard Notes: The Plot Against Big Plots

    Maybe you’re like a lot of us: At around this time last year, you got jazzed about the weather improving (while not so jazzed about being stuck at home), so you took up an “easy” hobby: planting a garden (or just splurging on a ton of house plants like @phileodendron).

    Playing roulette with the spinning seed carousel at the hardware store, you placed bets on every seed packet (hopefully you shopped more consciously for seeds in ‘21), started them inside while you painstakingly converted a patch of crabgrass into a giant bed, and transplanted the little guys. (But if they didn’t get totally acclimate and you had to start over, don’t worry—you’re in good company.)

    You didn’t even lose interest during the whole watering thing, thanks to the stylish sun hats. But when harvest came, all you had to show for it were three snap peas and a whole lot of micro-lettuce (those big leaves you were promised never unfurled). Gardening, turns out, isn’t all the seed catalogue pictures crack it up to be (but we still like looking at them).

    This growing season is going to be different. We know our limits, and know that eventually, mergers can lead to economies of scale. A pickle jar filled with algae can eventually become an incredible aquajungle or even a timelapse process video of said aquajungle—set to motivational-bordering-on-emotional music. That same pickle jar project might even nurture a passion for Millipede Mountain Cloche Terrariums!

    Before:

    After:

    You could even steal (or ask nicely for) a suckling succulent from a neighbor to propagate in your own soil, until it becomes your very own prickly old man.  

    We’re just saying (as if we’re your plantlife coach) that being young in gardener years is an exploratory phase that should be nurtured, not exhausted. It’s not about the size of your garden, it’s about what’s going on in the soil, or how you handle it. “Everybody is entitled to the nutrients beneath their feet. That applies to people in apartment buildings, or condos,” declares Jamiah Hargins, founder of the Asante Microfarm. Even if you’re a renter and don’t have access to nutrients beneath your feet, you can harness your shower for indoor splendor—or enjoy plant-positive streams like playlists and podcasts (yaaaas Plant Kween). Maybe after a lot of nature walks and talks, you’ll find you’re into poison ivy and write a thesis about it.

    Since gardening isn’t for survival (even when 2020 supermarkets were low on salad, and we claimed to be gardening for fresh food, we still weren’t starving), then it’s for pleasure. And pleasure can be immense if you just narrow in on your search area (right, pollinators?) 

    Plus it’s a little more sustainable, for your sanity and your resources, to start small—like choosing plants that require very little water and water-lugging. Then another argument: why even try to wreak havoc on your property when you can tousle someone else’s turf? People with plots in the UK are now renting them out Airbnb-style to local green thumbs. Oh, that’s right. We call them green thumbs, not green biceps. Take it easy and start small.

    Green thumb up,

    Aerate

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