The garden is going both better and worse than I expected. The old seeds I planted were indeed, very old. None of them sprouted, and I chucked the rest of the packets into the compost bin.
Oh yeah, I have a compost bin! This is new and wonderful. I found the basic design I wanted on the internet, my boyfriend built a box to my specs, we stuck it an out-of-the-way yet easily accessible bit of the yard and I've been adding to it every few days. Rodents are getting in there, which I expected and don't really mind, as long as they keep the mess within the confines of the box, which: so far, so good!
But, back to the plants. The tomato plant is shooting up and has a few small, green globes teasing me. The eggplants are sluggish, and dropped flowers when we first brought them home, so I suspect the cooler temps may have stunted them, but I've got my first successful, and rather lovely, eggplant flower, so I still have hope that I will have fruit. The pepper plants are also all fairly slow-growing, I think it's been too cool for them, too, but we have all summer for that.
My impressively handy boyfriend also built me a potato box. We found an interesting idea online, I saved some sprouting potatoes, then cut them up and planted them. I put in two types of potatoes, I planted them half and half, and then I forgot what I planted. Russets or golds or red potatoes, I'll be excited to pull them out of the dirt either way.
I bought a basil at a local nursery, and it was infested with aphids. So, the next time I saw it in the produce section, I bought some fresh, cut basil and immediately put the stalks in water until they sprouted some good roots, then planted them. I got four plants out of it, and they're still alive, but there's no new growth yet. I did the same thing with spearmint, and I'm having the same result. I think they're both going to give me love, they just need to get adjusted. I can be patient. I also took a chunk of peppermint from my brother's dessicated plant, and that's already got one, lonely, but strong sprout, which I've just pinched to hopefully promote more growth.
I've also got about twenty avocado pits in water. I've become obsessed. They take forever to sprout, and not all of them do, so I've been saving every pit and hey, I eat a lot of avocado. I've got a four-foot tree that a neighbor gave to me (which is what set off the avocado frenzy), and one of my pits has grown a stem and a few leaves, but the others are all just thinking about it. I've read that it's near- impossible to get a good avocado tree from a pit, they get the good ones from grafting usually. But, every now and again I run across some sworn testimony from someone in a garden forum with a convincing testimony of glorious avocados from their backyard, store-bought-pit tree, and sure, it only took thirteen years of nursing the tree, but it was WORTH IT for the glory of delicious backyard avocado. So, now I'm hoarding avocado pits.
Taking care of plants really grounds me. School, my head, money, family, life is stressful, and gardening is one of a few activities I partake in that calms me no matter what is happening, lets me stop thinking and just be in the moment. The metal smell of the soil, the warmth of the sun, watering each plant just enough, soaking in the green, the only thing better is actually reaping the labor fruits and eating them immediately. Fresh tomatoes taste like happiness.