It's been raining a lot.
I understand rain is good in the spring. And it is. Things are happy and growing. I have tiny little green strawberries, and the rhubarb is going nuts. The chives, and sorrel, and mint are all green and spreading. (They're all also weeds, too, for those of you who think it's weird to eat dandelions.) The dandelions are actually done, which is kind of sad. I was considering making dandelion jam. Yes. That is a thing, and I was really considering making it!
My container garden on my patio is sprouting. Lettuce, spinach, and arugula, carrots, radishes, and kale, all popping up out of 25 gallon plastic totes. Oh, and Quinoa. Every year, I pick something random to grow. Last year it was some sort of Asian melon that I can't remember what it was. Those died within two weeks of planting. I'm pretty sure my dog peed on them. Two years ago it was okra. I'm pretty sure I wasted about four square feet and ended up with about four okras.
I'm not expecting much more from the quinoa. Quinoa, for those of you who don't know, is a grain. Well, actually, no. According to Wikipedia, it is a "grain like crop," but not an actual grain. In fact, it's more closely related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweed. Tumbleweed, btw, is also edible. And, while I've never tried it, I certainly would.
Regardless of grain or not, it should be growing in a field, not half of a 25 gallon container. It should look like this:
|Quinoa Field. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa|
I do wish I could show you pictures of my back porch container garden, but every time I think to take a picture, it's either dark or pouring. Or both. The sun comes out to let the plants grow, but when I'm at work so I can't take any pictures.
There's something I love about growing my own food. Yes, sure, I'm cheap. I've mentioned that before. $1.80 on a packet of seeds that not only provide food all summer, but also probably last two or three years (because I don't have a farm. I'm only planting three squash plants at a time. There are like 20 seeds in the packet!) seems like a pretty good investment. But it's more than that. I like watching the seeds grow. To put something tiny in the ground, add water, and then step away. To see the light green mist spread across the soil. Or, in the case of peas and beans, to watch this sprout push up through the ground and then spring free. To have something gone one day, and then there the next. It's a lot like magic.
This is one of those things where I would love to say that I have loved gardening since I was a child. That would be fun, and it would make an interesting story. Aww, sweet attachment to childhood. Imagine Kate as an adorable little girl, playing in the dirt, and not a jaded jerk face jerk. It's a fair picture. I remember having a garden. I remember going to the farmer's market with my mom and picking up plants. I remember being far more interested in flowers, because they were pretty. I know we had a small vegetable garden, too, and strawberries, but I don't remember ever starting anything from seeds.
Anyway, I find it calming. To be outside, in the sun, in the fresh air. I recommend it. Even if you don't have a lot of room, or any room, for that matter. Container gardening is very effective. Lettuce can grow almost anywhere - the soil doesn't have to be very deep. Peas and beans work well in a pot. Herbs can be grown on your kitchen counter. And I know quite a few people who've had success with those upside down tomato thingy-s.
So, what I'm saying is that, I know money is tight. Let's take a hint from our grandparents and grow something. It's good, and it's good for you. And it's cheap. And it's fun. And, in a time when we all have so much to do and so little time, it's a god way to take a break and breath.
None of these are mine, but here are some of my favorite examples of container gardens:
|Lettuce growing in in gutters: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/container-gardening-options-for-small-spaces-slideshow.html|
|Your containers don't have to be expensive. Try plastic bottles: http://containergardening.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/allotment-gardens-and-container-gardening-in-the-philippines-r-holmer/|
|Herbs will grow just about anywhere... because they're weeds: http://www.shoestringmag.com/diy/diy-eco-friendly-affordable-container-gardens|
|Normally, I would say that strawberry wine isn't classy. In this case, I will make an exception: http://www.myyardrocks.com/container-gardens-grow-anything-anywhere/|
|It would work for vegetables too: http://indulgy.com/post/m7e6MJfSI1/perfect-for-the-back-of-the-garage|
|Really? You don't have room for a garden? REALLY? http://sustainablog.org/2011/09/container-gardening/|
|I feel like this person is an overachiever. Also, this picture looks like it was taken indoors: http://www.makeuptalk.com/t/96065/try-a-vertical-garden|
|I want these to be full of mint, and chamomile, and things like that: http://eblack01.blogspot.com/2011/05/vertical-container-gardening.html|
|I can't quite say why, but this one is my favorite: http://www.logantrd.com/2012/vertical-gardens/|