I think I most definitely suffer from anxiety and probably bouts of depression from time to time. As you grow older you become more sensitive to your body and how you feel mentally I think. Of course before you diagnose yourself with any of these illnesses you must first make sure that you have not in fact just surrounded yourself by arseholes. Arseholes will make you feel terrible so bear that in mind.
Keeping my mental health in tact, or as near as I can to that is always a struggle for me and this is probably why I am drawn towards gardening so much. Creating life and sustaining it really does make me feel better, inside and out. Whether it’s getting mucky in the garden creating new features (see my old blogs about making a green space out of *literally* a car park), or planting seeds on a windowsill and watching them go through germination and sprouting I just get a massive kick out of the whole process. Key issue though however – the massive black hole that is November through to April/May. My garden looks like a sludgy feral dump currently with twigs loitering in every corner and decomposing leaves recarpeting the ground. Vile. All the indoor plants are snoring as I type – they shan’t be considering making any effort whatsoever to grow for at least another three months. Like the divas that they are. Life just basically fucking sucks on the greenery front at the mo.
This is what has driven me to find my hit elsewhere. When nothing goes right, go left. That’s what I say. If the sun won’t come out then I will fool the bastard plants into thinking it was here all along. Cue introduction to my new experiments in playing plant God. The indoor garden systems!
Firstly we have the Ikea Krydda or Växer system. It comes in a 1 or 2 tier option. And you put it together kind of like a pick and mix. Pick and mix. Sour, chewy sweetie goodness. God I want pick and mix. Anyways, you put it together yourself which I in fact am already not a fan of before I start. Lets face it, every single one of us have on more than one occasion gone to Ikea to buy some essentials (and about 75 quid of other surprise purchases along the way) only to get home and realise you didn’t buy ALL the component bits. This set has disaster written all over it on that front. I did actually go to Ikea to buy this set but gave up half way through loading my trolley as even the staff were unsure about everything I would need to purchase. Also – not the prettiest thing frankly. You also need to have a separate propagator for it so it’s quite labour intensive-not that I mind that but just so you know. From what I can fathom a set up for this will be around about the £100 mark.
Leading on from this we have the Ikea Bittergurka. I don’t know what the Gurkas did to get this piece named after them but I’m sure Joanna Lumley is not thrilled about it. I love this. I have purchased it and been using it for a few weeks now and it really works. It is dead simple to set up only involving one screw – which you can fit with a butter knife. Not that I did that of course. But I did. Fuck it. I leave it on 24/7 and it gives the kitchen a nice warm glow to it. I feel like this helps me with the crappy feelings I get when I look out the window to darkness every day. You literally just sit your plants in it ( in my case shop bought coriander, rosemary and basil), and you top it up with water every so often and that’s it. My herbs are noticeably growing every day and I am hacking away delightedly at them at basically every meal time. I may also be inventing a few mealtimes as an excuse to get in there and forage. It wouldn’t be fair to measure it against the Krydda because the Bittergurka doesn’t propagate and isn’t a hydroponic system, but on ease of use and overall impact however I far prefer it. Also it looks fit, and was only £35 all in.
Moving on from this I realised that I didn’t have a means to propagate and I do really want to be able to bring seeds on all year long. I had decided against donating the amount of worktop space that the Krydda would take up so went on the prowl for another option. This is when God, God herself came down from heaven and spoke unto me. She said Paul, Paul go unto the Red Cross shop in Chorlton and verily I did my children. On entering I did find awaiting my eager clutch a Miracle Grow Aerogarden in immaculate state. The angels descended, but I had to ask them to shut the fuck up because I couldn’t hear the woman at the counter. Turns out she was asking if I had a loyalty card. Who knew the Red Cross did them!? Anyways, got it home and it was über easy to set it up. I had to order seed pods for it and fertiliser which cost a tenner for 6. Literally you plug it in, add water, two caps of fertiliser goodness and pop the pods in. Then you switch it on and leave it until it tells you to do something else such as give it more water or food. It’s not a pretty thing and the amount of light it gives out may have your neighbours questioning exactly what kind of hydroponics you’ve got going on in your house, but I’ve got it set up in the kitchen and I’m literally giddy with excitement about seeing the wee seeds start to show their little green arms. My plan will be to get my seeds going in the Aerogarden, which I may move to the utility room when the days get longer, and then transfer them to the Bittergurka. There are more palatable looking Aerogardens on the market now and they come in at around about the £120 mark and my one has space for up to 5 plants at a time.
There are some other contenders out there also such as the Seed Pantry Grow Pod at £65 which hosts two plants. I think the thing to think is, how much time can I donate to this and how pretty do I want my kit to be. I wanted the best of both worlds with an ability to grow a variety of things at the same time. I totally recommend getting one of the above though if you suffer from the winter blues, it will give you a bit of a lift and contribute towards tastier dinner times too!