Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let the planting begin!

Containers with virgin green leaves that poke out of soggy peat pots are scattered throughout our living room, straining to soak up any stray probe of sunlight that creeps through the window. It is still to chilly at night to let these babies out to fend for themselves.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that we scurried outside onto out less than balmy balcony to poke seeds into the peat pots. We have the unique opportunity to garden in containers meaning we don't have an actual garden, just a million planters of various sizes dispersed over our two small balconies. Last year I was almost flattened by a rogue tomato plant that simply fell out of the board of the deck above. Our landlord was kind enough to replace the balconies this winter so venturing into the great outdoors at three stories up should be safer.

I have always been around the growing of food my entire life, at least in some capacity. My grandfather was a farmer and my mom is a prolific gardener. When I was a child we raised chickens and pigs and had a modest garden. I love being surrounded by plants. I'm not very good at keeping them alive (it takes a great amount of coaxing to get Mr. W. to buy me a live orchid) but I do love plants. Farming is magical -yes, yes, yes, I know it is a hell of a lot of work- but to see a plant grow from a tiny seed and into a big beautiful plant that could even provide you with food is mystical. Origins are fascinating.

Balcony gardening is more about the experience than it is consumption. From all of the beautiful pea plants we grew last year (seriously, they are gorgeous! We have pictures of these plants on the wall!) I think we only yielded about 15, maybe 20 pods. Really. We would starve if left to rely on my gardening skills.

We have the usual assortment of peas and tomatoes but this year we added purple carrots and an herb garden. Sweet Little Person #2, overzealous little farmer that he is, toppled the starter tray when he was trying to check on the freshly planted seeds. Everyone is safe but the neat little rows of chives, sweet basil and cilantro are all over the place. The cilantro is definitely cheating on the sweet basil.

Here's to another year of balcony food!

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