Saturday, August 9, 2008

Adventures in Gardening

I still have to post about the ASME conference, Poodle's wedding, Blood+ and a movie I watched recently but today was so exciting for me that those other posts will have to wait. For the last week or so I've been completely obsessed with the idea of growing plants and composting. I think there was an article in the New York Times maybe that led me to this blog: You Grow Girl. And I started reading through the posts and becoming enchanted with the idea that I too, can grow edibles in containers and compost on my roof area!

My original plan was to get a basil plant just so I can have something already growing and make sure I can tend it properly and also get some cilantro seeds to try to start some plants from scratch. Tortoise recommended a plant shop on 9th and South (it was actually on 10th and South), so after eating freshly made donuts at Reading Terminal Market today (it was the Dutch Festival), I headed there to execute my plan. Sadly, this shop was in late summer mode and there were few plants in the outdoor area. To cap it off, they did not have any seeds either. The lady who owns the place was very nice however, and pointed me to the Whole Foods across the street. There, I got some parsley, sage, lettuce and chives seeds. I then headed to my neighborhood hardware store and got a bag of seed starter mix. I was sad that they only carried Miracle Gro brand mix, but I was desperate to get started this weekend and did not know where I could find nice organic stuff so I shrugged it off and went on my way. Stopped at the Dollar General to get a plastic container for composting. On the way home (there was quite a bit of walking done today), I stopped to grab some free newspapers and scoop up dead leaves from the street.

To assemble my compost bin, I followed the directions here. The directions were really simple to follow, basically:
  • Cut holes in bin and lid for drainage and air circulation.
  • Shred newspaper and line the bottom.
  • Add leaves.
  • Add kitchen scrap wastes (plant only, no meat or dairy).
I thought I had a nice full bin until I added the kitchen scraps and some water and the whole thing kind of shmushed down. I think I will just gradually add to it this week by picking up more leaves whenever I'm outside and putting in my scraps. There is supposed to be a carbon: nitrogen ratio that is 30:1. Leaves and other "brown" matter are mostly carbon and the kitchen scraps are mostly nitrogen. At least that is my understanding. Tomorrow I will also have to get some kind of shovel at the hardware store so I can turn the compost and make sure it is aerated. The internet said that turning often helps to break things down faster so I think that's what I will do. Here are pictures of my bin so far:

After accomplishing this (and feeling totally pleased with myself), I started planting my seeds. I did the best I could - planted the sage in toilet paper roll containers (described here), the lettuce in one of my bread pans and the chives in egg cartons. The parsley seeds had to be soaked in water overnight so I will plant them tomorrow. Here are my babies:

1 comment:

  1. you are too funny. i dont get it, why can't you plant the plants in normal containers? can't wait to hear about your progress!