I think I had too much coffee yesterday afternoon so the caffeine is still circulating in my system. Voila, I am insomniac and wide awake!
I’ve reached that point in the college semester where everything feels like I am trying to hold it all together but I am also so burnt out from the endless stream of assignments and tasks.
One class I have focuses on food insecurity in the residential areas surrounding my college. The final assignment for this course required students to select a group project from a list that the professor came up with. Each project idea related to ways of giving community members and residents more resources to healthy food. After a whole year of doing nothing but online projects to earn A’s, it might have been easy to just pick a group project I could do remotely. I didn’t want to play it safe, though, and was ready for something different. So I chose the only project that fit my interest, which was a hands-on gardening assignment that would last once a week for 6 weeks and all the work there would count as part of the final project.
I would love to go into a huge monologue about what I’ve been doing at the garden for the last few weeks but I think I’ll save an entire future post for that. I’ll say a little bit here as a sneak preview though, lol.
I feel incredibly lucky that I had the opportunity to do classwork in-person and outdoors in a garden space with some of my classmates (7 people). The special thing about this garden is that it is a community space so anyone can come and help out, and in the past year, many of the crops grown in the garden were shared with people in the community and with the local food pantry. Some of the things my classmates and I planted a few weeks ago: snow peas, mesclun lettuce, spinach, Chinese cabbage (bok choy, which I am no stranger to eating!), red romaine, nastarium and sweet pea (these two are flowering plants; not sure if they are edible). I forget what else but I brought a mystery radish/turnip from home that I planted in the garden. It had one mealy baby root at the time when it went into the soil.
Gardening probably came at the right time, too, to give me more inspiration for my green thumb. I already have so many mini-orchids but I got fascinated with succulent leaf propagation after seeing a video about it on YouTube. I tried it out for myself and it’s been going well.
Where did I get so many succulent leaves? The answer is a little embarrassing. Technically I stole them from Home Depot and Lowe’s. I wandered around the plant sections and kept a lookout for fallen leaves from existing succulent plants that were on display. I always thought leaves that were separated from the mother plant were dead but leaf propagation has taught me otherwise. The firm, non-runny leaves were the ones I sought out. I even found a leaf on a rack that was already growing a small pup (the name for a baby succulent on a leaf).
I went through the process of repotting some fully grown succulents I bought. This happened by complete accident. It started with a jade plant and an elephant bush (two types of succulent species) that were planted together in the same pot. The jade plant kept dropping leaves throughout the weeks even though I was taking care to only water the whole pot thoroughly when all the soil was completely dried out. Out of curiosity, I unpacked the plants from the pot and slowly pried the soil out in order to examine the roots. When I got to the center, I saw the plant roots were stuck together because their roots had grown out so much in one little pot that they got entangled with each other. It was a little horrifying to imagine if I hadn’t separated them into individual pots, the roots would’ve continued growing that way and possibly killing both plants.
After that I spent the whole evening taking out potted succulents and repotting them. Good thing I had backup pots at home for the repotting, I really needed the extra pots! From unearthing the roots, I got a better visual of the actual size of the plants and realized many of them would do better in their own individual pots for their roots to spread out instead of fighting for space with other plants in the same pot. The whole thing was like plant therapy for me… the smell of the fresh soil (it is a cactus/succulent blend soil) and the feel of it caking on my fingers whenever I took a handful to layer into a pot was wonderfully fun.
All other photos included in this post were taken by me. 🙂