My grandmother was a Garden Master. We even called her such. She always grew tons of great things in her garden. One year we harvested 80 lb of tomatoes and spent nearly a week canning them all. Those were some of my most memorable days (I won’t say fond though, because canning that many tomatoes is probably the most boring thing an 8 year-old could do). Upon purchasing my first house in October of 2016 I was determined to at least grow myself fresh herbs. I romanticized the benefits of having a garden like most 20 somethings with their first house probably do. My grandmother enjoyed it after all. Why not? I could do what I wanted and I wanted independence from the norms. Because homesteading for reasons and some crap like that.
I tried to grow my herbs indoors at first, because Pinterest is really good at showing you the prettiest gardening tips in the world and you think to yourself “Man that’s a really good idea, I could totally do that.” I’ll be really honest with you. You can’t. Not with plants. Don’t even try. Jewelry DIY and indoor décor crafts…sure. Food and recipes? Maybe. The limit is plants. Plants exist to make you hate yourself for trying to control them and in return we wage war on them, eat them, and force them to stay alive and provide us oxygen like little green slaves (it’s science look it up). No joke. Ignorantly, I planted my plants in cute little pots and teacups and kept them in my kitchen windowsill. Like a good hipster. Oddly enough, gardens indoor or outdoor require work to maintain and if you’re a 20 something like myself you probably know that life demands a lot of your time and efforts. Some plants died and some lived. The ones that lived didn’t go over well with my 17 year-old cat who discovered she was not, in fact, too old to jump on the kitchen counters. She ate them. All 50 bucks worth of them gone much to my dismay. At least someone got to enjoy them — just not me. Needless to say, my cat is lucky I love her. Outdoor gardening it was.
My garden was pretty pitiful and though I had the excuse of being super busy with a lot on my plate, I still managed to feel terribly about myself. The garden itself was basically weeds. Golden Rod and Dandelions to be precise. Tons of Raspberry plants too that I could try to fight and keep confined to one area. But really, why bother? It’s a losing battle. Still, I managed to get some herbs going in a small little square of prepared dirt. I’d be foolish to miss out on some of my favorite herbs so I felt like it was worth it. I dug out the sod of 9 square feet and proceeded to do what I could. A little Rosemary, some Cilantro, a couple Lavender plants, some Chives, Basil, and Sage. What better feeling than being able to take a scissors out to your own garden and clip a few things yourself? I was determined to not mess them up. Not after all the time and money invested in them by going to the greenhouse. Not after the cat incident. I was super proud of myself by the end of that day. Then a week went by and more weeds grew. My Basil was my first casualty. I was probably more upset about it than I want to admit. Thankfully most of the other plants were hardy and not easily killed. Good. I tucked that into my brain as a mental note for next year. If I couldn’t be a Garden Master, then I would at least fake it until I made it for Instagram and Facebook. Like any normal Millennial would.
I realized early on in my gardening adventures (which are still going somewhat badly), it would probably be better for me to get a dehydrator if I wanted to preserve my herbs. Drying in the oven required too much effort of me and I’m not a stay-at-home wife where I just have 10 hours to watch my oven and make sure my house doesn’t start on fire. So I bought a Nesco Dehydrator ironically named “The Garden Master” last month. I’m not sure why I chose this particular model, but I can guess it was probably because I hoped the name would manifest some kind of internal power and I could earn some Level Up points to get to Garden Master and then as I used it I could earn some Achievement Points and thus the titles of Garden Wizard or Garden Enchantress or something (because that’s how life works). While none of that has happened (yet) this dehydrator has been the answer to many of my food wasting woes. Including my fear of losing my herbs that I spent probably too much money on.
As Fall began to set in I was able to go out digging through all that stupid Golden Rod and remnants of Dandelion in my garden and dehydrate my Rosemary and Sage to top off my herb jars. I didn’t stop there, though. I even found out you can turn Raspberry leaves and Dandelion tops into tea. Just in the last week I’ve managed to dehydrate a huge bag of apples that were going a little soft to make some apple chips, which are surprisingly delicious when you leave them alone and dehydrate them as is (who really has time to fancy up their food when they work full time and need to have a life at some point). I even got a little carried away and dehydrated a whole bag of my husband’s snack oranges (he was not amused). The fact of the matter is, while I have not mastered being a Gardener, I have come to master dehydrating, and with this Nesco Garden Master it took pressing 3 buttons to do it. It required little to no effort of me, which is exactly how I like things. I don’t even have to keep an eye on it. I just set it and let it do it’s thing so I can do mine. It’s the Garden Master so I don’t have to be. It makes me look like I have my shit together. Which means, in short, I freaking love it.