On a recent rainy day in New York City, I rode the elevator with three-year-old Ellie
up to the sleek Edelman Penthouse for a gardening event hosted by ScottsMiracle-
Grow. Although the weather was dreadful and stormy, the timing could not have
The day before, while walking home from school, my four year old, Molly, asked
me about planting–as in “Mommy, I want to plant things!” We had stopped in the
hardware store and she zoomed in on the seeds packets by the door. “No,” I told
her, “We live in the city and we don’t have a rooftop garden or a terrace. We don’t
plant.” After a lengthy explanation of what, exactly, a rooftop garden and terrace are,
I left the discussion at “We’ll see. Maybe one day.”
Many people plant flowers and vegetables in the city. I don’t know how or even
exactly where this happens. But I am told urban gardeners–and in-unit washing
I was fortunate to meet William Moss that muggy and wet afternoon in the
penthouse. Urban Chicagoan, Mr. Moss is a Master Gardener and the host of
HGTV’s “Dig In.” He is easy-going, funny, and made me, in particular, feel not so
terrible about never having had my hands in dirt for any reason. (And hello, how
cool is it that his name is “Moss”?)
I truly appreciate professional cooks, gardeners and astrophysicists (just three of
the many areas that interest me and for which I have no talent) that can speak to the
rest of us as if we do indeed all live on the same planet. It does immediately remove
the intimidation factor that prevents some of us–ME!–from trying new things.
Mr. Moss, with the help of Miracle-Gro products, demonstrated how easy it is to at
least try to grow something good. I got my hands not-really-so-dirty trying out the
Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix–comprising ground up coconut shells,
this lightweight mixture absorbs water when used in pots or the ground; it expands
to three times its size, holding 50 percent more water than traditional potting soil.
Who knew you could plant and not end up a muddy mess?
(Miracle-Gro also offers several organic products under the Miracle-Gro Organic
Ellie and I were excited to bring home and try the Miracle-Gro Kids Root Viewer
(there are five additional Miracle-Gro Kids Kits). I sat on the living floor with the
kids and planted onion, carrot, and radish seeds; we have been checking daily on
their progress. It seems I have been proven wrong about apartment gardening
The family-friendly Culinary Herb Garden was tremendous fun to plant together-
-easy and neat. I am pretty sure I may get at least a little bit of something green
to throw into a dish soon. Mr. Moss was correct in his assertion that planting is
satisfying for many reasons–witnessing food grow in your home is surely a bit
mystical. The windowsill is indeed enough of an “outdoor” space for city kids to
experience that very elemental process.
An update: So far we have a few green things sprouting in our herb garden and in
the Root Viewer. We have an odd orange mold joining them as well. This may be an
experiment in growing more organisms than I imagined.
Wendy Bradford is a mama of three, wife, writer, spin instructor, ardent New Yorker and blogger at mamaonetothree.com
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