Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Shoots

I find that spring always gives me a renewed need to start new things. I have been wanting to get into quilting for some time, and at this point I think I will actually start that soon. I have a few more pressing projects to attend to first, but that will happen this year before summer arrives. One thing that I am refusing to give up is working with plants and dirt. I love having a house full of living things, whether they be people or plants. For most of the time, I have to settle for plants. Being a homemaker in a modern world yields few others in my position to be in the home during a week day rather than just weekends. To fill my need for living things, I have decided to fill our new place again with plants.

One of the hardest things for me in the move was having to leave behind my outdoor gardening space on the balcony. We looked for a new place that would have the same accommodation for me but it was not to be. In some ways I am glad for this. I find it interesting in a way to work with plants in a way that they are not necessarily intended to grow. It is a personal challenge I guess. This started with my container gardens out on the patio in not so great light. Some things worked and others failed miserably. It really was not about being able to feed ourselves, but rather to see what I could make happen under non-ideal conditions. This new garden is under the same umbrella. I saved the Meyer lemon, rosemary, and chives from the outdoor garden. All of the other things I have started over. The first picture is my newest attempt at cucumbers. I found a packet of seeds specifically for container gardens rather than the vine style i have tried and failed with in the past. They seem to be enjoying themselves thus far, and I hope to get just one edible cucumber off of the three that I have tried. There is always hope right? The trellis from the jasmine is being used this time to support peas. I am not sure if the trellis will work well for them as the space between each contact point are kind of far from each other. It seemed like a fun thing to give a try to and see what happens. All of the peas have germinated, which is better than I can say for the patio. Hopefully we can get some peas off of the plants being indoors just like I did when they were outdoors. The plants did not bear enough for a meal by any stretch of the imagination, but they were good tossed on a salad or supplementing some from the farmer's market.

I am also trying some greens. The spinach was doing well on the porch before we had to leave, so I am hoping it can do something here inside as well. They have really taken off after germinating, and they are even bigger today than this picture I took yesterday. The front planter has another new try at something, baby butter lettuce. There was another potted plant style seed I found for baby heads of butter lettuce. I thought, hey why not try that as well, so I bought a packet and cannot wait to see what happens. The final thing I planted into dirt that has sprouted is a new herb garden. I did not take pictures as the shoots are even more tiny than the greens pictured here. Hopefully this takes off as I love being able to clip fresh herbs from my own planters right when I need them. What about the Aerogarden? It is still going. I tore everything out of it when we moved and took some time off from this one. About a month ago, though, I wen to a hydroponics store and bought some medium cups from them to try in it. What a difference the right material makes. I am currently giving my thyme a head start and it looks great. The sponges I have tried to use in the past end up becoming sludge and moss factories. This medium has stayed shapely and supportive for the plant. I cannot wait to start the other herbs and some cherry tomatoes today. While all of these experiments are fun, I am still keeping my fingers crossed that I get into the community gardens that I have signed up for. Till then, I will plant what I can around here and wait for the Alpine strawberries to germinate. For today, more bread baking experiments of the English muffin variety and planting of herbs before heading off to tutor and dance classes. I hope this spring brings new shoots of interest to you and that you find new enjoyment in the every day.

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