Saturday, May 16, 2009

City Girl Grows Urban Sprouts

Up to two and a half months ago, I had never planted a thing in my life. Never. Ok, granted I had to grow a few bean sprouts for science class in school on cotton pads but other than that, nothing else.

And then occasionally I come up with half crazy ideas like owning an organic vegetable farm but thankfully my friends keep me grounded and reminded me that I really haven’t grown anything in my life, so really a farm is quite a far fetched idea. Ok, so I’m not going to own a farm and the concrete-grass ratio where I live is not in my favour, so the only real city-friendly alternative for now is container gardening.

This is part of my starter garden. Ok, so it really isn't a garden. It is more like a collection of containers. Small ones, round ones, large ones and ugly ones. In them I have planted cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, coriander, beans, carrots and rocket. On the surface it seems easy, grab a pot, pour in some soil, plant the seeds according to the directions at the back of the packet, give it some water, sunshine and talk to them occasionally. Technically it almost seems as easy as following the directions on the flip side of a Betty Crocker mix but in reality there are all these other variables that you don't even think about.

And here’s how it all started. I tried to buy the best compost I could get my hands on which means, having some humility and going to the nursery and having to ask silly questions like, “I need to buy some soil. I’m planting some vegetables and I want them to grow tall, strong and tasty, what do you recommend?”

With some soil, some seeds, sunshine and water, I’ve managed with varied success. Some of my plants have been consumed by aphids and some died for reasons unknown to me. But the ones that survived and the ones that grew into delicious end products that made the whole trying process worth it. Now I can proudly snip some rocket or some basil from my containers and in a few months let’s hope I’ll have some tomatoes.

I love vegetables and I love salads; growing my own vegetables, I think is a fabulous idea. Firstly, I can plant my vegetables organically. Secondly, I feel like I’m eating more responsibly – in a minor way, I have reduced my carbon footprint because when I really think about it, the earthbound organic salad leaves that I constantly consume is flown in from across the world and there is something not very earth friendly about that. And really, this is as fresh as it gets.

Fingers crossed, I’ll have some juicy tomatoes soon.