First Planting!

6 Mar

In this first year of trying to grow some of our own food, it seems crazy to me that now, in early February (I started writing this back when we actually planted the seeds – February 13th -I’m only just now getting around to posting though because it took me this long to manage to get downstairs and take a picture of the growing table. Today, March 6, eggplant seeds are going into the dirt too.), Panda and I have already put some seeds in dirt that we hope to eat the fruits of this summer. But before I get into the details of all that, there are a few other things I want to brag about.

First off, I want to brag about a place we found. So, finding it probably wasn’t that hard, and so its not really our accomplishment, but we’ve been really excited that we now live very close to the Maple Avenue Market. This little store seems to embody a lot of the things that we have been thinking about in terms of how we’d like to feed ourselves – the food is ethically grown/raised with a mind towards its impact on the environment and local (meaning that everything you buy there is in season). Not only that, but we’ve been able to consistently find small-ish chickens there. Tough to do at the local Safeway, and perhaps most importantly a small (2.5-3 lbs) chicken is crucial to our favorite roast chicken recipe. Anyhow, they don’t just sell food though. For instance, we were able to pick up a fair number of the variety of seeds we’d like to try to grow this year, and get a catalog from their seed source that I think will take care of the rest. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange sells a lot of seeds that, as best I can tell, have nothing in common with the creepy Monsanto stuff that I hear even Haitian farmers who fed their seed corn to refugees refuse to grow.

Anyhow, the other thing I wanted to brag about is our sweet hanging garden down in the basement. The Hanging Garden of Pandalon, if you will. We grabbed a 2’x4′ piece of plywood from our local chain home improvement store, a couple of u-bolts (I think these are normally used in plumbing?), s-hooks, some swing-set chain, and a plug-in shop light (I’m not savvy enough to do any of that “direct-wire” stuff) and voila! Check out the picture under this paragraph. It ain’t pretty, but I’m still pretty proud of the ingenuity. The idea is that it will allow us to better regulate the heat on the plants, and, as they grow a little taller, give them room to grow. That is, if they need the room before they’re ready to move out to the garden come May-ish.

Ok, so, done bragging, here’s what we planted:

  • Early Jalapenos (x2) @ 3.5 inch spacing
  • Orange Bell Peppers (x8) @ 1.5 inch spacing

They were put in the potting dirt (a commercially available seed starting medium – alas, our compost ain’t ready yet, despite the totally sweet composters we built last fall, which reminds me of another post I’ve been meaning to write for some time… Next year the plan is to use a 50/50 mix of compost and garden soil) on Sunday, February 13, 2011. For the moment, we’re relying on our own memory to turn the light on when we go down to take care of the cat’s food and litter in the morning and off at night, but I’d like to run out and grab a timer for that next week.

Anyhow, that’s almost all. The other really exciting news is that we decided to buy ourselves a Meyer lemon tree as a mutual Valentine’s day gift – its chilling in the big window in the living room, and hopefully in the next year or two we’ll start getting our very own local citrus from it 🙂 Plus, I don’t know if y’all caught on, but I’m a pretty huge fan of the meyer lemon now that I know what it is – feel free to check out the marmalade and lemon curd posts.

Cheers,

Bolt

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