When life gets crazy – an unending list of chores – work projects, volunteering, stuff around the house – I head off into nature.

My escape has always been go hug a tree. But sometimes getting away isn’t so easy. Load up the truck, corral the dogs, prod Husband off the couch – you get the point. So, I brought nature to me. I started gardening. It started off easy enough – a houseplant here, a few herbs over the sink – and soon I’m rototilling the back forty. Well, we live in SF, so it’s more like the back 15×12 – but I digress.

Gardening is elementary, if you remember a few basics –

  • · “I’m thirsty!” – Well, I heard you can over water, but I’ve yet to see it. The trick is to insure that your plants aren’t in standing water. When you are potting a plant, line the bottom with pebbles to insure there is plenty of drainage.
  • · “No critters!!” – Even the most diligent green thumb battles bugs. Fight nature with nature – Marigolds give off a smell that aphids don’t like, so plant them around your rose bushes. Garlic does, too!
  • · “One woman’s garbage” – is another woman’s compost. There are many good resources on how to compost, check them out. After a few months, your trash transforms to nutrient rich supplement for your garden.
  • · “Worms poop, and that’s a good thing” – Worm poop (castings) provide wonderful nutrition for your plants; drop a few in your compost heap. In their travels, they also help aerate the soil.
  • · Be Nice to the Little Ole Ladies - There IS a garden club in your area. In it there are little old ladies and lanky old men–and an occasional gardening stud–who, if you are nice and bring a covered dish to their meeting–will clue you into EVERYTHING you will ever need to know about growing things in your microclimate. And if your dish is savoury, they just might supply you with bulbs and cuttings from their great yards and all the tips you need to eventually out-green them.

And remember – If you’ve been inside all winter, wear sunscreen. The April sun can be harsh. If you’re like me you’ll lose track of time, as you daydream about becoming the next Martha Stewart – so lather up!