Maybe It’s Time To Grow Something
Photo by Aubrey Argabright
“To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.”
— Marina Schinz
No matter how much or how little space you have, you can grow some things that you can eat and enjoy. Container gardening doesn’t require a lot of space or effort. “There are tons of things to grow inside or on a balcony or patio such as lettuces, onions, carrots, and microgreens,” says Mary Ann Dallenbach, owner of St. Matthews Feed & Seed. “Also herbs such as basil, chives, and cilantro, which like cool nights and warm days.”
• A Clean Pot and Potting Mix. Mary Ann Dallenbach advises starting with a good, clean pot. Aphids can be carried in from a dirty pot. “Always use potting mix, which has the ability to expand, such as ferti-lome,” she says.
• Choose the Seeds. Mary Ann uses non-genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds. The GMO process makes plants more resistant to rain, drought, pests, and diseases, but it is controversial because it’s done in a laboratory.
• Fertilize and Protect. Adequate fertilizer and controlling pests is vital. “What you do to fertilize after the plant starts growing is important,” Mary Ann says. “If you want to grow organic plants for your fruits and vegetables, then you should use organic fertilizers.” Some suggestions are Espoma indoor plant food or Monty’s Plant Food, which is locally manufactured. Pests such as aphids can appear due to over or under watering. “You can control pests, and you need to do it immediately,” Mary Ann says. She suggests mixing one part rubbing alcohol to 8-9 parts water. It can either be sprayed on the infected plant, wiped on the affected leaves with a paper towel, or dipped on a Q-tip.
St. Matthews Feed and Seed is offering curbside pickup and delivery options during the virus shutdown. Alternatively, you can pick up seedlings (small plants) curbside after ordering at seedsandstarts.org. This nonprofit offers more than 50 vegetable varieties, 20 herbs, and dozens of fruit trees and bushes.
Grow Some Microgreens Now – Story and Photographs by Melissa Donald
If you don’t have a yard or access to a garden plot, then you can still grow a mini garden inside your home. Growing microgreens inside your home doesn’t require a lot of space, are low in cost, are quick and easy to grow, and are full of nutrients.
#1 I lined a wicker basket with about 2” of potting soil and planted regular seeds by sprinkling them on the top of the soil in clusters, like a small garden plot. I planted seeds of radish, arugula, beet, swiss chard, kale, basil, and cilantro, along with other greens.
#2 After planting the seeds, sprinkle dirt over the top — just enough to cover the seeds — and water the top of the soil with a spray bottle.
#3 Seedlings should start to emerge within three days, depending on the type of plants you are growing. Harvest when plants are about two inches tall (around 7-10 days from planting). Cut plants about half an inch up from the bottom of the plant, and plants will grow back for another harvest.