I don’t exactly have a green thumb. If killing house plants was a crime, I’d be public enemy #1. When I used to have office plants, I always knew it was time to water them when. . . I caught my coworkers watering them, while shaking their heads in disapproval (or pity?). Twice I have tried to grow a window sill herb garden from seeds. The first time, the dry soil yielded a sickly looking sprout that died within 24 hours of poking itself through the surface. The second time, I grew a few sprigs of cilantro, and then a bit of mold.

I have never had any land of my own, so it doesn’t bother me much that I can’t grow a garden. I tell myself it’s not my lack of gardening skills, it’s my lack of space that holds me back. The outdoor space that I can call my own (temporarily, in exchange for monthly rent) includes a 3’x5′ spot on a shady fire escape (shady in two senses of the word) and an 8’x10′ covered balcony. I never really thought it was possible to grow anything in my space, so I didn’t fret about it. However I recently realized that there is about an 8’x4′ space between my balcony and my neighbor’s that gets about 6 hours of sunlight per day (a completely unscientific estimate). So, despite my poor track record, I am starting a patio herb garden!

Laugh all you want. I’m sure you seasoned gardeners can find all the things that are wrong with this picture and are willing and able to point out ten gardening sins I have already committed just by potting these starter plants. Please share any tips you have, because I really desperately want to be a good plant mother. Don’t call social services yet – I can change!

But honestly I believe I’ve done a good job so far. I picked up these starter plants at Ellwood Thompson’s and the Home Depot, along with some organic potting mix. I think I spent way too long over-analyzing the ingredients in the potting mix (as if I knew the first thing about plant nutrients) but I think I’m off to a good start. In two pots I have planted cilantro, rosemary, parsley and basil.

In two more I have planted jalapenos (middle of the 3-pot photo) and patio tomatoes (below).

I will let you know how it goes. When it poured rain all day today and I got to thinking about my exposed plants drowning in the deluge, I already started brainstorming an alibi. Here’s hoping we won’t have to add six more plants to the long list of veg-garden-ology victims.

Wish me luck!