Basil is one of my favourite herbs. But, confession: I don’t grow my own basil. Not even a little spring on the windowsill. In fact, I don’t grow any herbs. I am painfully aware of the fact that even my fellow black thumbs are growing (or at least killing slowly) their own herbs. People with no yards even. In high-rise apartments. In caravans. Boats. And yet, here I am on a 900 m2 block and not.one.herb.
Every time I pay $37 for a plastic-sleeved bunch of basil from the supermarket, I feel guilty! (Ok so it’s not $37, but overpriced nonetheless.) I then wrap it up in paper towel (!!) to try and slow the quick wilt. More guilt. It’s wasteful and I know it.
Gretchen Ruben from The Happiness Project said that:
negative emotions like guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big flashing signs that something needs to change.
Thank you Gretchen! I have seen my big flashing sign and henceforth shall attempt to grow my own basil.
So without further waffle… Meet Basil. Cute hey?
I used the term ‘black thumb’ before. According to the Urban Dictionary a black thumb is ‘a wannabe gardener who kills plants. Opposite of green thumb’. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure this term adequately articulates my gardening abilities. I don’t kill plants because I don’t plant. I’d rather scrub the toilet. Maybe, it would be more accurate to describe me as a beige thumb; too disengaged to be even black or green.
I suppose on deeper reflection this has a lot to with my aforementioned motoring down the highway of pace, consumerism and instant-gratification. Why plant when one can just paypass? And as for the environmental considerations… It’s pretty easy to place these at item #328 on the to-do list when you are sweating and puffing in the chaos of the rat race. Ugh. This makes me sound like a completely slack citizen of the planet. As The Off Grid Guy points out, about one-third of the average Aussie’s ecological footprint is based on the production and transportation of their food! But you know what – I can’t apologise for the past. I can’t apologise for the many previously purchased plastic-sleeved then paper toweled basils because they were all apart of the life that lead me to… now. The now, where I am motivated to stop stomping thoughtlessly through life, and to instead tread lightly, mindfully and intentionally. Perhaps in a few years time I’ll be able to sit amongst my thriving garden and remember this first little step of growing my own basil.
So anyway: Basil is a big deal and I felt it was important that she was more appropriately dressed for this momentous milestone.
The next step is to make sure I don’t kill her! I googled ‘growing herbs for dummies’ and it started with:
‘Caring for herbs isn’t much different from watching out for your other annuals and perennials, but herbs have a few special requests.’
Oh.dear. Annuals? Perennials? Additional requests? I feel like there must be another step below dummies? I’m not exactly keen to google ‘herb growing for the especially dim-witted’. Surely I am not the only beige thumbed being on this planet?
I read on.
Apparently I need to consider soil quality, fertilisation, sunlight, drainage and… pot size. Size matters. It’s too much. I decide I am going to take a much more organic (see what I did there?) approach to this gardening caper. I’ll water Basil as I remember, take her for strolls in the sunshine and compliment her regularly on how pretty she is looking. In my experience, a good compliment cheers everything up. So, that’s it. My second step towards a happier, greener life with less.
P.S. In case you haven’t picked up from my previous posts, I have a penchants for podcasts — Gretchen Ruben’s Happier podcast is one of these. She isn’t exactly a poster-girl for minimalism (cue natter and chatter about bed spreads, window treatments and handbags), but she does offer many helpful insights into clutter, habits and their link with happiness. And if nothing else, Gretchen’s enthusiastic natter stirred amongst the dry drawl of her sister and co-host, Elizabeth, is an entertaining brew.
P.P.S. I feel the need at this point to say a few words in defence of my parents. My utter disinterest and inability in anything garden-y up to this point in my life happens to be despite their very best efforts. They no doubt read my beige thumb confession whilst slinking deeper into their chairs… And by the time I floundered about perplexing on my perennials and annuals they perhaps had palms to faces, only peeking through their fingers uncomfortably at my green ignorance – Like watching a Bachelor cocktail party – too awkward to watch or look away. So, a shout to M & D, who have a fabulous veggie patch and orchard that provides a lot of their fruit and vegetable needs year-round. And, an acknowledgement that they really tried very, very hard to get me interested in things outdoorsy and greener. Hell, they even packed us up and moved us to Tasmania in my teenage years… yet still I resisted. I suppose this just exemplifies ye ole’ cliché: You can lead a horse to water etc. etc… or as is more apt here: You can lead a girl to Tasmania… but you can’t make her drink the green tea!
P.P.P.S. Yes I’ve added something to the house – but I figure that a living, breathing, green thing doesn’t actually count as stuff!