January is not one of my favorite months. It doesn’t include any good holidays and it’s long. And cold. And icy. February is short, it sports a cute holiday (Valentine’s Day), and it’s the month next to March (which boasts the onset of Spring–very exciting!). December has Christmas. January? January’s the one month of Winter that’s got nothin’. Nothin’ but cold. And ice. And it’s long. Did I mention the long part?
To ward off January depression (it’s SO FAR AWAY FROM SPRING), one of my New Year’s traditions has become to plant a little indoor garden using herb kits and also an amaryllis or paper whites. Knowing my penchant for this January activity, usually someone gifts me the materials at Christmastime.
Usually, I end up killing the herbs, by either drying them out or rotting them out, but I’m pretty successful with the amaryllis or paper whites.
In spite of the fact that the herbs are most likely doomed, I enjoy the sense of hope it gives me to plant them. It’s simple and quick and it makes me feel like I’m gardening. (Maybe someday I’ll have an actual greenhouse and do real gardening in January!) The herb kits come with cute little pots and seeds and peat cakes to reconstitute.
It would, of course, be more frugal to use little pots I already own and plant my own seeds. But there’s something corny and cheesy about these little herb kits that I love. I’m just playing here. Dreaming. These corny, cheesy little herb kits fit right in. (They’re pretty inexpensive.)
The directions are simple. Just drop a peat cake in each tiny pot.
And add a couple teaspoons of water.
The amaryllis is more complicated. Really. Hey, you have to be sure you stick the root side down. Some years, I’ve done that wrong….. It comes with a big peat cake to which you add 3 cups of water.
It overflowed the pot because I forgot that I should have reconstituted it in a separate bowl. I had to take some of the peat out so I could fit the amaryllis root in there.
There was too much of the peat with the amaryllis anyway, but since some of the peat cakes hadn’t worked right in the herb pots, I used the extra as replacement.
In about six weeks, I’ll have a beautiful red amaryllis bloom.
I made little signs for each row of herb pots. One kit was “Italian” herbs–basil, oregano, and parsley. The other was “fragrant” herbs–mint, catnip, and more basil. The packages say GUARANTEED TO GROW. We’ll see.
It doesn’t really matter.
I feel the spirit of my sweet Spring come upon me when I look at them, and for these long, cold, icy weeks of January ahead, that’s exactly what I need.