Sunday, January 13, 2013

I grew that from nothin'!

I feel like everyone I know has been on this whole "eat locally", gardening thing lately. They're all "Hey! I grew green beans!" I'm jealous for several reasons:

1) I hate paying for things I can just do myself (I really should have named this blog, "Hey! I can just make that myself!").

2) I am all for vegetables and herbs and stuff. We've been good about cooking at home and having veggies at every meal.

However, there are some very serious challenges to the whole "growing things" goal:

1) I kill everything. Like, everything. I've had one plant survive my attempts at cultivation, but even that one is looking pretty sad.

2) I live in an apartment in New York City, so gardening is tricky.

However, the internets abound with ways to have pretty, indoor, useful gardens.

DIY: Herb Garden

I got a window box from Home Depot and some seeds from Amazon (the lady at Home Depot gave me a snide "Um, no, it's a little late in the season for herbs" ... yeah, that's why I'm doing them inside my sauna of an apartment). 

For my first attempt I used old plastic cutting boards to divide up the window box into 10 sections and planted a different kind of seed (in alphabetical order of course ... Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Lavender  Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Stevia, Thyme). 

The internet told me it could take WEEKS to sprout anything, but probably within 5 days I had my first sprouts! They were so cute!

I think that's the basil 

I let those grow, and after a few weeks I had sprouts for basil, chives, cilantro, dill and parsley. The rest had nothing. I transferred the growing ones into their own pots, which did NOT go well. Everything except the cilantro and dill died, almost instantly. 

For my second attempt, I replanted the basil, oregano, and parsley seeds straight into their own pots; I didn't want to deal with replanting them. It worked much better.



Herb Garden

The parsley and basil sprouted immediately, and the oregano is weak but growing. I replanted the others in the window box again, and again, nothing. I have to do a little more reading and see what I'm doing wrong.

Then Chris surprised me with Pepper seeds! I planted those in the window box, and look what was waiting for me after we got back from Christmas?!

Herb Garden

On New Year's Day I always have to eat beans (thanks to Nana, who gives everyone baked beans for Christmas, even though my mom is the only one who eats them) -- Eat like a Pauper on the first of the year, and you'll eat like a King for the rest. This year we made fajitas (chicken for Chris, black beans for me), and tried to make them taste as close to Chipotle as possible. And for the Cilantro Lime Rice, I used the cilantro from my window!!! I was so proud!!!

New Year's Beans

The clay pots really dry out the soil, so the ones in clay pots are bone try but the ones in the plastic pots are getting moldy! I read here about soaking the pots in water from the bottom instead of watering them from the  top (which could flush the nutrients down and out the bottom).

Soaking Herbs

They look so much better! The internet said I wouldn't have to water then again for weeks ... I don't quite buy that, but we'll see.