currently reading this book. very inspiring and close to what we’re working towards!
This year we tried our hand at starting plants indoors. The idea is to give plants that can’t handle cold temperatures, like Tomatoes, a head start in the growing season. The first day of Spring was March 20th but our last frost date is in the middle of April.
I used this online almanac to figure out when I should begin germinating each plant. I was able to find the last frost date for our region and starting dates for a number of different vegetables by using our zipcode. I also used an online garden planner called Smart Gardener to help with more in depth germination and plant care information.
Per our sources, we began germinating seeds in February, the tail end of winter. By starting plants inside we also had a bit more control over the variables that affect plant growth success:
- There aren’t any wild animals (or chickens and ducks)
- No wind or rain to mess with the seedlings
- No Housemates can walk on them accidentally
- And you can watch over them very closely!
However, by directly sowing in the ground, you can end up producing healthier and more resilient plants because they grow up much more acclimated to their environment and they won’t have to deal with the shock of transplanting. It’s all a matter of preference and needs.
To begin seed starting, we needed a plant’s most basic requirements: light, water and soil — and the seeds, of course!
“Gardens build community, period.” -Ron Finley
This film tells the story of a South Los Angeles edible garden planted in a surprising spot. Ron Finley, its planter, constructed the garden the way he wishes his neighborhood could be. And his vision of repurposing unused open space, like that of many others working together on urban agriculture in our city, should inspire us all, and remind us of how, with a little creativity of vision, and willingness to get our hands dirty, we can remake spaces defined by asphalt and dead grass into productive places of beauty.
Aphids. The garden pest of garden pests. Through my learning in the ways of gardening I’d always heard that they were “bad” but I’d never experienced them. So you can imagine my dismay when on a beautiful Spring day, as I observed the plants in the chicken pen, I saw hundreds of them attached to the stems of our Quince shrub.
Even though I had no idea what they even did to plants I figured there was reason to be concerned. There were so many! Notice all of the little green bugs.
You know Spring has arrived when everything around you turns yellow. Last year I never thought about where the pollen came from. I was a bit too absorbed with my first time having severe Spring allergies. This year, I figured out it was coming from the Oak trees around us. We have a massive Willow Oak in our front yard that hangs over the street where we park our cars. The overwhelming yellow tinge of our car + plus the flower tendrils hanging off the Oak helped me figure out where the pollen was coming from — the confirmation came from Weather.com’s pollen alert which highlighted the Oak tree! Fun fact: the tendril-like flowers are the male flowers of the Oak while the female flowers are tucked away behind the leaves.
The past few days have seen pollen everywhere, even inside our home. Last weekend we took a hike around Falls Lake and the pollen was just as abundant. It was a beautiful Spring day as we strolled around the Shinleaf campgound. Hiking around Falls Lake we could clearly see the pollen being kicked up as we walked. Little yellow clouds of dust rose up around us completely covering our shoes and legs. Even the water of the lake couldn’t escape the massive amounts of pollen. Along the shore of a beachy area was pure yellow water. Our pup, Remy, romped around in it like it was no problem.
Just a day earlier my face was reacting to the tons of pollen that exploded over the city. Itchy eyes, runny/stuffed nose, coughing. It was fun. During our hike my allergies weren’t so bad. Maybe my body was getting used to it, or maybe the stinging nettle tea I’ve been drinking helped me out, or maybe it was just luck…perhaps it was all three? Either way I have an appreciation for the pollen since I understand it better but I might be singing a different tune during a sneezing attack.
“An amazing piece of art and information which maps emotional and other responses to environmental information. Created by our (brilliant) contributor J.Boehnert 2011 — more on this piece: http://bit.ly/eco-labs”