With any luck, burritos and cocktails will soon poke their heads out of some soil on my window ledge and bring forth much-needed quarantine sustenance and mirth-making. And, I didn’t even have to go out and forage for burritos or cocktails and cut their stems off to plant them and watch them grow. No! There is a nifty little seed planting kit that my mother sent to me for Easter, and I’m finally getting around to trying it out. I figure, if I can grow a sourdough starter in my fridge (it’s still alive!) and my hair, maybe I could grow some plants from actual seeds, especially if those seeds come with recipes, growing instructions, and soil—all wrapped up in charming egg cartons.
These kits, which the Backyard Safari Company makes, come in several different varieties. Here is a link for the “Grow. Cocktails” version, which claims that you can “grow happiness in small spaces.” When I saw the package and the dare-to-dream-the-impossible promises cheerfully written on the label, I grabbed Nate by his “Hot! Sriracha Hot!” T-shirt (which he has been wearing for a month now), and screamed, “I believe! Oh, I believe!”
The cocktail kit comes with seeds for thyme, lavender, Thai basil, mint, lemon balm, and blue borage. I had no idea what blue borage was—or how to pronounce it—but I didn’t want to look stupid in front of the cat, so I said, “Oh, yes! Bloo, Bore-ahhhh-ghee. I remember sampling this delicacy on a yacht when I was in pet grooming school. It has a snappy, rich creamy taste, but the name is deceiving. It’s not blue at all. It’s midnight blue.”*
*Disclaimer: The things I say to impress the cat are never true. According to The Chef’s Garden site, blue borage is a blue edible flower that has a cucumber and honey taste.
My mother also sent the kit for growing several varieties of chili peppers. The kit comes with seeds for tabasco, habañero, cayenne, jalapeño, poblano, and hot banana pepper plants. Oh, what could go wrong if we grew all of those hot, hot peppers? Here. Here is what could go wrong:
Poison Control Center: We are no longer taking calls for people who have used cleaning products in ways they were not intended to be used.
Me: No, this is different. I’ve mixed several varieties of screaming hot peppers into a soup. It’s too spicy! It’s too spicy!
PCC: Okay, remain calm. Do you have any Bloo Bore-ahhh-ghee in the house?
Me: I think so. I think I do. Wait—do I know you from pet grooming school?
PCC: Yes—I was on that yacht. Were you the one that got locked in the bathroom, and then threw up in a bucket?
Me: Yes! That always happens to me.
PCC: Well, I can see how you got into the spicy pepper problem—you were kind of a wreck back then.
Me: I was! Still am.
PCC: Ha! What a hoot! In any case, you can mix the Bloo Bore-ahh-ghee with gin, club soda, and some simple syrup.
And that’s precisely how I would run out of Bloo Bore-ahh-ghee, but still have plenty of hot peppers.
In any case, I had a lot of fun planting these things. The kits come with two chocolate-brownie- looking “cakes” of soil, which you’re supposed to drop into a cup of warm water. Then, you wait while this soil absorbs the water and puffs up. At this point, the soil looks like delicious chocolate, but it is most definitely not chocolate. It is soil. Believe me. I temporarily forgot where I was—and perhaps who I was—and snuck a bite. It tastes like soil.
Once the soil has absorbed all of the water, you just divide it into the egg carton cups, sprinkle in seeds of happiness, and cover with a little more soil. There are also little wooden stakes and a pencil in the kit, so that you can keep track of your plants.
Oh, I can’t wait for them to grow! I check on them every day, while singing:
Grow for me!
Burritos in quarantine
Such a dream!
Feed my belly, bring me mirth
From tiny seeds in the earth.
What a way to pass my days!
Cocktails and peppers from egg paper trays.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite most unusual plant?