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Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Grow-Op Begins

Today my green thumb just got a little bit greener, or blacker I guess, from the dirt that I was working with.  I started my indoor garden today (of VEGGIES - get your mind out of the gutter!).  I know, I know, the term 'grow-op' has other connotations, but I like that term.  It makes me feel like a 'rebel'.  I especially liked discussing my 'grow-op' with my mom at the top of my voice in the grocery store as I shopped for seeds.  Anyway, I planted three kinds of tomatoes, broccolli, three different herbs and two varieties of peppers.  They are now snuggled in nicely in their pots baking under the heat lamp in our downstairs bathroom.  I am a lazy gardener (and I mean extremely lazy), and I have never done this before, so I guess we'll see how this little experiment grows... er, goes. 

On to to other 'living with less' news... I went consignment store shopping yesterday.  First stop was the 'Once Upon a Child' store - a kids consignment store, which is truly a one-stop shop for all things baby and/or kid.  I stocked up on splash pants for the little guy so that he can continue to enjoy his puddle splashing, minus the excessive loads of laundry for me.  Next we checked out a ladies consignment store in Edmonton called Caprice West.  I had heard really good things about this store, and I wasn't disappointed!  Funny enough, it is also owned by an old friend of ours who used to teach me piano as a child.  It was neat to see her doing something that she is so obviously gifted and talented at... her shop is amazing!  Imagine what it was like playing dress-up in your mom's closet as a child and that is what this store feels like!  There is something there for everyone.  Even my dad admitted that it was a pretty cool shop, and he HATES shopping!

One final tip:

It sounds kind of ridiculous because we should have been doing this all along, but lately my parents and I have been 'going half-ers' on a lot of bulkly packaged food... especially the fresh stuff.  It is so much cheaper to buy heaps of it and then split it in half... and then of course, there is also a lot less chance of it spoiling on you.  This week we split huge packages of pasta, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, broccolli, feta cheese... and the list goes on. If you have someone to do this with, I highly recommend it!

Whether you tend a garden or not, you are the gardener of your own being, the seed of your destiny. - The Findhorn Community

Happy Early Spring!!

Marebare :)


  1. I have never tried an indoor garden... sounds like fun. Are you just starting the seeds indoors to transplant later? If you are going to transplant them outside then I highly recommend wall-o-waters or some similar sort of plant protector for the tomatoes & peppers because they really need hot weather and can't tolerate cold at all. It's basically a plastic thing that you fill with water and it goes around the plant. The water absorbs the sun's heat during the day and radiates it back at night protecting the plant from cold weather and allowing you to plant much earlier. You take them off later when it gets hot and the plant gets big.

    Also... broccoli likes completely different conditions than peppers and tomatoes. Broccoli needs cool weather (like nothing above about 70 degrees farenheit) or else it gets infested with bugs and wilts and doesn't do well at all. I've never been able to make it work here in Denver, but I'm giving it another go this year. I've already got my seeds in the ground (along with all of the cool weather stuff - peas, kale, collards & chard) so hopefully it will stay cool throughout the spring and I'll get some this year. I've already got a bumper crop of spinach coming in that I planted last fall as well as green onions and garlic. It makes me SOOOO happy to eat food that I grew myself.

    If I'm wrong about your intentions and you're planning to keep the plants inside all season, I'm dying to know how you're gonna pollinate them!

    Last year I had the most ridiculous bumper crop of tomatoes... I gave tons away to every neighbor and friend I could get to take any, and I ate tomatoes at every meal for several months, and then I froze gallons of stewed tomatoes and have had them all winter. I think 42 plants was a few too many (long story). I LOVE my garden (can you tell?)

    But... here's what I really started out to say (before my rambling inner gardening psycho so rudely interrupted me). Your story about splitting bulk foods reminded me of one year before I got the gardening thing down I joined a CSA farm (community supported agriculture). You basically buy a "share" in the farm up front and then you get fresh veggies throughout the growing season. It was AMAZING! I think I paid about $200 for a half a share, but it was so much food that I split it with a friend at work, and then split my half with my parents!

    Anyhow, depending on how the gardening thing goes, you might want to check around and see if you can find a CSA farm in your area. It's an amazing way to learn how to cook with whatever you have on hand and to get introduced to a huge variety of "off the beaten path" sorts of veggies. And if my experience is any guide, it's the cheapest food you'll every buy!

  2. Rebecca,

    As I write this, the snow is flying here in Edmonton! No outdoor planting in the near future for me!

    Thanks so much for all of the tips! It is evident that you know what you're talking about and feel passionate about your garden! I am hoping to get there... in a few decades or so. Growing anything up here is a bit of a challenge, but so worth the effort.

    I have a broccolli tip for you: my mother-in-law told me that it is because of the white butterflies that the broccolli gets infested with worms. You could try to put netting over it (and any other cabbage family plants) to keep them off? Not sure if it will work, but I am going to try it out this summer anyway. If you do try it and get some results before me, let me know.

    Oh, and yes, I will be transplanting them outdoors, sometime in May. So, I will be sure to let you know how it goes!

    And, if all else fails, I signed up for a co-op veggie program where you pay $10 per month and get a basket of random veggies. I am super excited about it as I have never done that before!

    Again, thanks for the great advice and happy gardening to you! All the best!

  3. Hey,

    I checked out Caprice West on my way home from visiting my mom in the hospice, as I wanted a new pair of jeans. I did try on a lot of things, but didn't end up buying anything. It is a great store though, thanks for sharing, I have driven by there a lot, but never noticed it.

  4. Hey Maren,

    I'll try the netting thing... it can't hurt! And I wouldn't say that I know what I'm doing in terms of the garden... I've just been experimenting for 15 years or so!

    p.s. Sorry I keep pummeling you with such long comments, I just really love your blog!