Fun fact: My Mini Maine started out at a Farmers' Market! That's right...every Sunday from May through October, I would pack up all my little plant babies, macrame, and other creations, put up a tent in the City Hall parking lot and do my best at slinging some homemade goods.
To be honest, it kinda sucked.
May in MAINE is still cold. Some mornings were so cold, you'd still need a winter jacket and hat. Not exactly prime weather for plants. Then there are the hot summer days you're spending in a parking lot wishing you were at the beach. Then comes fall and yep...it gets cold again. Oh, also they're rain or shine :) The City Hall parking lot is WINDY. One big gust and your tent could go flying. Bags of sand as weights were a must.
But also, no one came. The Farmers' Market seems like such a fun, happy place to go support your local farmers, creators, growers. It's a community thing right?! Support local! Shop small! But it's like no one knew we were there. Don't get me wrong--there were definitely people who came every week for their fresh fruits and veggies. But to even get some people to glance at your tent was difficult. And my prices were VERY reasonable...cause I was just starting out and wanted customers to like me. If only the city did more to promote it...
There's a point to this story.
I used to LOVE growing plants. Macrame took over because it was so effortless--the cord doesn't need me to water it, put it in the sun, or check the soil. It's not attracting bugs. It's not getting knocked over by my kids (and if it does...well, it's just string). I could do it all year long, order more supplies and they show up at my door. And people love it!
Then the pandemic hit. And we, like everyone else, decided to plant SEEDS for a vegetable garden. It was so much fun. We got the heat mat, the plug tray, the right types of soil. We planted the seeds (when we could find them! Did you know a bunch of stores in the South Portland area were completely out of seeds at one point?!). We watched them grow. The kiddos watered them. We built garden beds outside and planted our seedlings. Glorious. We ATE from the plants we grew! And I remembered how much I like learning about plants--how they grow, how to make plant babies, how to care for them.
So. Yes. I bought a TON of new plants. And soil, fertilizer...all the goods. Ben got us some grow lights. And we started growing again.
For me, it's satisfying to bring a plant home and baby it. I LOVE cutting plants up and propagating them. I love taking little succulent leaves and watching them grow roots from just sitting on top of soil. Can you believe that?! You buy one succulent and it gives you so much in return.
While this cold, gloomy, gray Maine weather may have us down, I encourage you to try taking care of one plant. Just one--do a little research, think about where you want to place it, learn all about what plants would work best for you, and see what happens.
Here's a great little read from The Sill with some suggestions on beginner plants. (I totally recommend a pothos--I can let that plant sit without much effort and it grows a beautiful trail of leaves in green and white.)
Did you know that houseplants not only improve the air around you, but they also improve your mood, help you feel a sense of accomplishment, and can even be therapeutic? Here's an article from Prevention that dives in deeper.
And here's a little TikTok I made (follow me! @myminimaine) on how I make plant babies from succulent leaves!
What you need: succulent leaves, succulent soil
Take a few leaves off a succulent by *gently* twisting the leaf from the stem. You want to make sure it's a clean cut. OR, you may notice leaves that have fallen off alread.
Place leaves somewhere (I use a towel) to dry out. You want that end you pulled off to heal over. This can take anywhere from 1-3 days.
Once healed, lay leaves on top of succulent soil. I put mine in a little vintage dish.
Spritz the soil so it's moist, and continue to spritz when you notice the soil is dry.
Place in a sunny, warm spot. I put mine under a grow light, but a regular window will do too!
In a few weeks, you'll notice your leaves have started to grow teensy, tiny little roots. Maybe even some new leaves too!
Let them continue to grow. Once they're big enough, you can pick the old leaf off or just leave it and it will shrivel up! Replant your new succulent baby and take in all that glory :)
Note: I usually only do this with larger leaves--around 1". Some leaves will probably die. Others will turn mushy (that means they didn't heal over enough and they've gotten too wet). That's okay!
You can also trim succulents when they start to get tall (or "leggy"), let the end heal over, and replant in new soil! Take the leaves from the bottom and let repeat the steps above to grow even more! And that stem? Well, leave it alone (water occasionally) and you may get even more growth!
Lemme know what you think about houseplants--love 'em, hate 'em? Favorites? Tips and tricks for care?
Keep it real--