Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Must Garden NOW
posted by Julie |
I have to admit that I have a hard time eating my veggies. It isn't that I don't love them. I do. I stock up on veggies, buying everything that looks good or that I'd like to try, and always buy more than I can eat. More than I can cook. They spoil. I feel guilty.
That's when I decide I don't deserve beautiful produce, and go without it for the rest of the month.
I know I should adopt a more Euro pace, and go to market for my meals, buying my veggies the day I need them, or at the most two days before I'll cook them. But I live in the States, where markets with actual food growers happen only in the summer and only on weekends. So for six months of the year, that means shopping in grocery stores constantly, and grocery stores in the States are exhausting, low-service, high-fluorescence centers of high-pressure, hurried, cranky incivility. If you'd like to see us at our worst, visit an American grocery store around 5:30 p.m. Grab a cart whether you need one or not. We use them as armor. I try to avoid these experiences.
But when the ground thaws, it becomes possible to grow our own food. And absolutely nothing tastes better than homegrown produce. If you're not a big veggie eater, nothing will make you fall in love with vegetables faster than growing them. When you've nursed your plants along, watered them, kept them safe from rabbits and hornworms and slugs and other varmints, the fruit of your labor is sweet. Usually more expensive, but sweet.
However, I'm not home-centered. I spend my days in an agency, my mornings in a gym, and my evenings in a car, on a cell phone, at events, with clients, or collapsed on the couch. I'm a weekend gardener at best. It's hard to grow veggies in this life.
I've found a shortcut that helps. It's these swell "self-watering" earth boxes. This is gardening for idiots. You can use them indoors or out, to grow your own lettuces, herbs, tomatoes (they're amazing for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, you name it. Perfect for rooftops, patios, or apartment balconies, they allow you to conduct low maintenance, square foot gardening by the foot, even if you have only a couple of feet to spare. Full instructions for mixing potting soil and fertilizer come with them, and you pour water into a tube that allows the plants to draw moisture as they need it for days at a time. Easy.
A step up from that? Good old Mel Bartholomew and his Square Foot gardening techniques. See the site below.
I'm sticking with a couple of earth boxes in a sunny corner in my house to grow lettuces and leafy greens away from bunnies and bugs. I figure a lettuce plant will keep a lot better than a whole dead head stuck in the back of the fridge. I may be wrong, but it's worth a try.
Time to go study seed packages. What could be more spring than that? It is going to warm up isn't it? I'm starting to wonder.
Square Foot Gardening
Lettuce in a Box