On Windowsill Gardening

Windowsill garden | Litterless

In two weeks, I'm moving. Two weeks ago, I planted a few pots with spinach and herb seeds. I started the seeds too late in the season, but they'll be fine. I've loved watching them start to peek out of the soil, slowly and surely.

I don't think I've grown any plants from seeds in two or three years. Summers have been full of weeks and weekends away from home: at my parents' house, on vacation, visiting Julian in Madison. Though each summer I've wanted to grow food on my back porch, each summer I've hemmed and hawed and finally decided not to plant anything, visions of parched pots withering in my absence floating through my head.

This summer, a move seemed like a great reason not to start any seeds or buy any starts. The pots might break en route, the soil might spill out in the truck, the plants might be neglected for several days before and after the move.

They might, and yet, so what?

I've spent several summers waiting for the perfect moment when the stars align and my calendar is clear, but of course that's unrealistic. Soil is free, seeds are cheap, and I passed on the extra seeds to friends who have more garden space than I do. There's nothing to lose by planting foods that might not get a chance to flourish and there's nothing to gain by skipping a gardening season.

I needed to realize that growing food isn't an all-or-nothing proposition: while planting ten pots might be better than planting three pots, planting three pots is a world better than planting no pots. I don't have the backyard garden of my dreams, the community garden plot of my dreams, or even the back-porch container garden of my dreams. But when I look at the tiny threads of basil, spinach, and chives slowly growing upwards in my three windowsill pots, not only do they seem like more than nothing, they seem like more than enough.

What are you growing this summer, big or small?