If you’re a gardener, April is a month filled with possibilities and surprises. The plants I put in the ground last fall are suddenly popping up and sprouting, leaving me speculating on which plant I put where. Some gardeners keep track of these things, but I like to be surprised. 

One of my favorite things to do as a gardener is share the excitement of how it feels when you plant a seed or a stick of a plant and by some miracle it grows and blooms. Which is why this week in Ashland you can stop by the library for all the supplies you need to grow a tough but dainty little plant called Sweet Alyssum. People claim that this plant can be invasive, but I’ve never found it to be true. What I do know is that this plant that calls itself an annual (something you have to plant afresh every year) will often sprout year after year from the mother plant left in the ground.   

If you can’t make it to Ashland to pick up the Garden to Go Take & Make kit, no worries; you can create a windowsill garden out of all sorts of items you might have around the house. For tips and tricks on how to create a garden out of a milk carton, check out this blog post.  

Here are a few basic must-haves to get you started on your gardening adventure: 

  1. Potting soil. Small bags can be picked up at any gardening center, and believe it or not, if you’re lucky, at your local dollar store. 
  2. A container of some sort.
  3. Something to plant. This can range from seeds you want to start, or small sucker plants a friendly neighbor might be willing to share. There are also a variety of different kinds of starts you can purchase at almost any store.  
  4. Water
  5. Depending on the plant, at least 8 hours of sun.

For the purpose of this post, I’m using a 4-inch terracotta pot.  

Terracotta Pot

You can also use leftover clamshells from berries or greens, milk cartons (as mentioned above), or basically any container that can hold soil. I recommend poking holes in the bottom of anything that doesn’t already have drainage, this will prevent your plant from getting soggy feet, a sad condition that will cause the roots to rot. 

Once you find a container, you’re ready to get started, I put down some newspaper in case of a mess, grabbed a spoon from the utensil drawer, and filled my pot with soil. 

Newspaper covered counter with dirt in a pot

Next add your seeds or start. Just be aware that plants will grow! Make sure your container can accommodate the plant you’ve chosen for it. Otherwise, you may have to transplant it to a spot in the yard or a bigger pot. The seeds I’m using are teeny tiny California poppy seeds. 

California Poppy seeds in a dish

Now that I’ve patted my seeds in nice and snug and cozy, I’m going to gently add water. I’ll water these every day until they’re about  three inches high, then I’ll start backing off to every other day. 

Pot with dirt and seeds

 Find a sunny spot to for your seeds and keep and eye on them. Before you know it, they’ll be growing and filling in your container! 

Pot on a window sill with poppy starts

For a great way  for you and your child to relax after finishing up your little personal garden, enjoy the bilingual storytime featuring Call Me Tree/ Llámame árbol by  Maya Christina Gonzalez. A beautifully illustrated book “that follows one child/tree from the depths of Mami/Earth to the heights of the sky, telling a story about being free to grow and be who we are meant to be and honoring our relationship with the natural world.”

For those of you who are interested in gardening but don’t have the space, I’ve got great news! For a small yearly fee there are a number of community gardens you can join throughout Jackson county. Here’s a link to find the closet community garden near you. 

There are also a variety of gardening-themed programs going on at Jackson County libraries. For instance, Phoenix, Talent and Ashland libraries are all doing a “garden to go” program. Other branches are doing fun things as well ,so check out the library events calendar or pick up an event guide and see what’s happening. Remember, you don’t have to live in a specific town to visit that branch library. When my children were little, we routinely visited the different branches in our rural county in California. It was a fun excuse for an outing, a way to experience new places, fresh faces and of course discover new and interesting books to read!