Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring is in the air...be happy

Little green possibilities...

Just a few more days until spring is officially here; I, for one, can hardly wait. This year marks my first actual growing season, having previously been bankrupt in the sunlit patio department. Drought, no more. You are looking at my first Portuguese kale seedlings. The seeds are from my grandfather, who hauled them with him from Portugal. A colleague at work gave me the tip that you didn't need fancy seedling trays; this is just an egg carton I have repurposed for the job. The setup is lounging in a southwest facing window under a tent of saran wrap and a lamp, to create a bit of a greenhouse effect. I posted a bit of background on these special seeds and their intended fate here. This kale is the first of my patio produce crops; I also bought heirloom carrots, lemon balm, fennel, basil and rosemary. If I can keep this all alive, I may just go crazy next year and try my hand at tomatoes.


If you, like I, have never tried to grow your own food - never fear. I honestly didn't believe these seeds would sprout. I have killed almost every house plant I have ever owned. I have once-beautiful topiaries on my deck, strung out and yellowed from the stress of life with the Nielsens.  I was pretty sure I would somehow mess this up. Miraculously, just a week after I sowed them, these gorgeous little pre-veggies popped up. And equally unbelievable, my little apple tree survived the winter and has little buds. To help my little apple twig along, I bought Mason bees last week and a little Mason bee cottage. Mason bees don't sting; they have a short life cycle where they pollinate everything in sight and then they lay eggs for the following year. Talk about low maintenance beekeeping.


If you are looking for some resources on how to grow your own food, in any kind of space, look no further. Choices Markets is selling West Coast Seeds and I also like Salt Spring Seeds. Both have plenty of heirloom and organic varieties and since they are in our local region, they've got seeds suited to life on the wet coast. For pots, Ikea has plenty of options but if you can make it down to Marine Drive in Burnaby, Garden Works is like gardening wonderland. Life on the Balcony is a blog filled with tips on getting green in a small space; FarmTina has her own little plot, aka backyard, in the midst of bustling NYC while Marie Viljoen has just a shoebox apartment. Amy Pennington's Apartment Gardening book has been my how-to manual...so if you try and get it  out from the VPL, you will need to wait! She is from Seattle so it is great to get tips from someone in the same sort of climate. 


Do yourself a favour and grow something this spring. Anything. I promise it will make you smile.



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