Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Indoor Garden

This has been one of my biggest projects to date. After the tomato plant debacle, I wasn't sure if I would try kitchen gardening again for a while. But I guess things just sprouted of their own accord! An indoor garden is a really great way to re-use multiple resources around the home. It's a wonderful feeling to wake up in the morning and head over to my lovely sea of green. The scents of basil and sage, the new shoots that unfurl every day, the warm glow of my plant light, the extra oxygen... And almost everything has been made out of recycled materials!

1. Potting containers: a great way to use old cans, bottles, etc. My favorites are the large buckets from bulk tofu bought at the Korean market.

2. Vermicomposting: this could be a separate post entirely, but I try to cram it in. Buy some worms, put them in a container with air holes. Add newspaper or other carbon based bedding. Then start adding in your food scraps! Just no dairy, meat, citrus, or onion, since the worms have a hard time breaking that stuff down. It requires a little work, but now I have great rich soil to add whenever I re-pot a plant. We have the power to make new, fresh Earth!

3. Greywater: I like a warm shower. I don't like watching the water go down the drain as my spoiled little behind waits for it to heat up. So I bought a huge watering can, and fill it up each time I step in the shower. My plants love it! You can even use the water to do dishes.

4. Plants: There are several different ways to acquire new plants. So here's a sub-list to this garden list post.

Seeds: spinach, which died. Also, I was cutting up a red pepper one day, and thought, "hmm, I wonder if these seeds will sprout?" Turns out, they will. Whether or not they grow peppers is another story. I'll keep you posted.

Cuttings: I got this really hardy indoor plant after one of MICA's staff meetings. After accidentally breaking off one of it's offshoots, I threw the smaller piece in a pot of dirt, just in case. Basil is another fantastic example of a plant you can throw in a small vase of water until it grows roots.

Roots and Rhizomes: My goal one of these days is to have a potato bucket. That's where you let a potato sprout, then cut out each of the "eyes" (it feels creepy to type that without quotation marks). Throw in a bucket with dirt, and keep layering. Grow. Then you will have a whole bucket of potatoes! I've always wondered if that will work for onions too. For now I have a ginger root that I let sprout. The plant is a little over a foot now, but it doesn't look that healthy. I'm hoping it holds on until spring when I can put it outdoors!

What sorts of indoor garden projects are you working on? Has anyone had success growing edible plants indoors? Want to talk about vermicomposting? Drop me a line!

Also, a hearty "what's up" to the Baltimore Food Makers group that just started up in Hampden! I got my vermicomposting bin from Johanna, and I believe that she has others available. Unfortunately I missed the yogurt/cheese making session, but hopefully I can make some of the future events!

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