One of the trends driving garden-marketing of late is the supposed homeowner desire for low-maintenance, no-maintenance and instant gardens. This is driven largely by younger homeowners (say, under 40) who have more money than time, and want a backyard that’s a refuge not a work-factory. Now, some people think if you want no-maintenance, the solution is a gardener or a condo. I’m all for low-maintenance at least in some parts of my horticultural life. That’s why I keep very few houseplants.
The folks at Smith and Hawken and Tar-jay naturally are all over these trends. The other day while wasting a frigid February evening trolling Target for pens and other essentials with my daughter I was enticed by an end-cap display of “Instant Gardens.” They looked so stylish, like most things I don’t need at Target. The gardens came in several varieties from lilies to herbs. Having more money than fortitude, I plunked down my $15 and bought the Pizza Pot. Research–that’s what I call it.
The pot is a modified strawberry pot in a pretty aqua blue. Inside it, I found four tiny packs of seed and three little disks of highly compressed potting material. The instructions were minimal and not realistic for Minnesota in February: Wet the disks until they become potting soil, put it in the pot, and add the seeds, then put the pot outside in a warm spot until the seeds sprout. Then bring the pot inside and put it in a sunny window. The disks did not produce enough potting material to fill the pot, but I had some extra potting soil so I added that. Since there are no warm spots outside at present, the pot is on top of the refrigerator. We’ll see if any of the basil, oregano, parsley or green pepper seeds sprout. If they do, I may plant them in my regular, non-instant garden come spring.