My First Attempt at Not Killing My Plants

We moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the summer of 2009. Summertime is bright and sunny and warm – just the way I like my weather. There was a great deal of wildfire, too. The smoke blurred our view as we drove into town initially. Eventually the smoke cleared enough to enjoy the scenery. We drove from Grand Junction, Colorado to Fairbanks – through Canada, of course – and saw nature in its rawest forms – both animals and plant life.

When I was 12 we drove from Miami, Florida to Anchorage, Alaska and then took a bush plane to the village where my grandparents lived. Thirty-three years made quite a difference. The road was all gravel and potholes going through Canada back then and we encountered bears and wolves and were forced to eat fiddler fern that we had to pick ourselves.

fiddler fern gathering
Hunting and gathering fiddler fern for dinner

In 2011 we moved to a house next to the Alaska Pipeline. The winters were dark, too dark for me. My birthday is in February. Nothing grows in February. My love brought me downstairs and showed me this device he had built – a garden with a grow light. He built it out of PVC and lamps and little plastic pots and a container for the pots. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He crafted it in the basement of the house we were renting.

Pre garden state
Grow light, seed starting soil, seed packets

We went to the store and I immediately snatched up seeds – lavender, thyme, rosemary – I figured that would be a good start. I really should have done better research. I read the seed packets. I knew what I would see – or so I thought. Thyme actually was the most successful of my “weeds” because my husband also happens to be an excellent cook. I monitored my little plants and when one of them sprang up I was so excited. He cut them and made food and seasoned the food with my bits of grass. I’ll never be sure of what we were eating. I was convinced it was rosemary but he insisted it was thyme. No matter. I was hooked.

Rosemary, lavender and thyme
Soil, seeds, markers

Initial garden setup


Sprouting Herbs

I ended up overwatering and killing all of my remaining herbs. I was sad and gave up. I would try again when we moved to the lower 48 but that’s a garden story for another time.

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