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The City Girl's Guide to Country Gardening, Lesson 1: Plant a Tray of Seedlings

Soil pellets look like round brownies. (But don't taste so good.)

Virginia Sole-Smith

Let's get one thing straight: Femivore, I am not. Sure, I like to cook. Maybe twice a week. (I also really like other people to cook for me.) And yes, I belong to a CSA. I adore getting a biweekly load of fresh and frozen plant foods, but I'm also a little bit scared of my (super nice) CSA lady, because she's a really principled vegan and I... put cheese on things. Also bacon.

And while I think it's super to know more about where your food comes from and all that, I have definitely, always (throughout my suburban Connecticut childhood and ten adult years living in New York City) drawn a very thick line in the sand against growing said food myself. Farmers have to get up wicked early. Gardeners spend a scary amount of time weeding. Waking up early and weeding = things that give me hives.

And. Yet.

My husband, Dan, and I moved out to the country (New York's Hudson Valley) last year. And now we have a house. With a garden. I think -- it's been buried under snow most of the time so far, and anyway, I try not to leave the front porch. But my new country friend Shannon (who grows all her own food, of course) took me out to lunch yesterday and, after two margaritas, had me convinced that it would be a really good idea to plant a tray of seeds.

It seemed like a gardening baby step. I'm still scared of the actual yard, but, city girl/control freak that I am, I liked the notion of a garden in a box. I also liked the fact that this Burpee Eco Friendly Seed Starting Greenhouse Kit came with 25 pellets of hard-packed dirt that expand when you add water. That seemed pretty idiot-proof, not to mention mess-proof.

Of course, I knew, theoretically, that once I planted the seeds and they grew for a bit, there would come the dubious "transplanting" stage where they need go outside. But again, two margaritas followed by me being let loose in the garden supply store. And so here I am, ready to share my tales of gardening 101 with you all. Whether you're a full-on femivore (or guy-ivore) or just like to get those pots of basil they sell at the grocery store, I hope you'll follow along with my adventure, offer your own tips and tricks, and not mock me too much if this whole thing turns out to be an epic failure.

How to Plant A Tray of Seedlings:

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