07 July 2010

Boat Garden

Now that we're back to a secure location, we can tell you more about the lessons we learned while living on a boat instead of bogging you down with all the adventures we had (right now the adventure is finding a job.  Weeeeeee this is a fun ride!  Not.).

For those of you who joined us post-January, one of the things I need need NEED on the boat is plants.  They make me happy.  Apparently, I do not make them happy.  In January I told you about the herb garden surprise as well as my awesome greenhouse build.  Well, needless to say, after we got back from First Trip the herbs all died.  I replanted them.  Then I realized I'd been feeding them brackish (salty) water.  Well that explains why Second Planting never sprouted.  So I planted them again.  I think one or two sprouts sprouted up and then died.  After that I gave up on herbs.  Somewhere around this time the mint also died and so I bought some mint that was absolutely glowing with chemical health.

Well, what are herbs but a supplemental flavor to a meal?  My real passion was for the vegetables.  As previously stated, watering them with salty water does not work.  That was the first planting of vegetables (particularly, ones we eat a lot of - lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, and peas).  I tried planting them in an egg carton to start - saving on space is always a big deal.  Nothing sprouted.  Yay.  So then I moved up, sprouting them in one of those little plastic six-packs.  I got three out of six to sprout (out of three peppers and three tomatoes, I had two peppers and one tomato sprout).  They were doing marvelously, until I transplanted the tomato to a more spacious environment (Solo cup).  The next day, the first pepper fell over and shriveled up.  Later that afternoon, the second pepper did the same.  The tomato still thrived, and the chemical health of the mint (pictured, left) was waning but still present.  I cried.  Okay, so I was down to a tomato plant, after failing miserably at everything.  I get too emotional about plants, I do.  I placed all my hopes and dreams in this little guy, the one plant child I had left.

But then tragedy struck.  I had to leave Titusville and attend a couple weddings in Michigan.  I warned Kyle before I left that he needed to treat this tomato plant with all the love and respect he treated me with.  Sufficiently threatened, he promised to "do his best."  Hardly good enough, but what choice did I have?  Upon arriving home, I was dead tired but I noticed Kyle was acting a little...guilty.  I couldn't imagine the cause, but when I got back to the boat, I knew.  My little tomato guy wasn't looking so hot.  Kyle promised he'd watered and loved it and took care of it, but it was still shriveling.

So what went wrong?  When I made the greenhouse, it was January and I aimed to trap as much heat as possible.  Maybe the Floridan temperatures were too much for my veggies.  Peppers are sensitive fellows, maybe the trauma of removing their tomato friend pushed them over the edge.  In Titusville we were attacked by a massive swarm of lovebugs, maybe the little mater was overwhelmed.  Or maybe it's just my black thumb.  I've never been the main gardener, only caretaker (okay, Mom, you're right - I was weeder and potato-bug-picker.  And eater).

Boat people, talk to me.  How do you sustain your boat gardens?  Now that I'm home, even though summer is half over, I have still planted everything that I would love to have a fresh supply of.  The herbs are still being stubborn about sprouting, but I still have high hopes.

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