I took a gardening class over the weekend and today I am feeling inspired. I’m going to take the kids on a field trip down to the gardening store and we are going to buy seeds and potting soil and perhaps some cute gardening gloves.

I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb, but how hard could it be? It’s like my mother’s response to people who say they can’t cook. “Well, you can read, can’t you? Then you can cook! Just follow the directions on the box!”

So that’s my plan. I’ll just follow the directions on the box, or seed packet as it were. It will be just like what I learned in kindergarten when I was sent home with a styrofoam cup topped with soil with a little baby bean nestled inside.

Sunshine+water+love=plant! Easy as one, two, three!

Wait a sec…I’m looking at this handout from the class now…

What’s this about ammonium nitrates and something called vermiculite? Is that the same as perlite? Apparently, some vegetables need acidic soil and some don’t. How do you put the acid in the soil? Sprinkle it with lemon juice?

Some vegetables give the soil nitrates, while others suck it all away. Some plants should be planted together and others far apart. And fertilizer? How do I know which kind to buy when I don’t know what kind of soil I already have?

And I don’t remember these kinds of instructions from kindergarten: “Broadcast 1lb of a blend of 16-16-8 per 100 sq. ft. or make a furrow 3 inches deep and 2 inches away from the planted seeds using 1/3 cup of garden fertilizer per 10 ft. row…”

It may as well ask me, “If a train leaves Philadelphia at 5:30pm going 42 mph and another train leaves Cincinnati…” Ugh. And there’s a whole section on weed and pest control too.

Okay. Here’s my new shopping list: seeds, potting soil, cute gardening gloves, and lots and lots of little styrofoam cups.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, free-lance writer, and mother of five small children. Read more at  www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com