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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Growing Your Food



This is what you need to start growing your own food:
1. empty egg carton
2.seeds
3. seed starter-soil

The most expensive item will be the seeds.  I choose different ones to try each year in a different plot, that way, I am excited about the results.  This is my hobby after all; it feeds us in more ways than one.

Usually, I plant Territorial Seeds, from Oregon.

I use what I have at hand to create my starters. This year, I crushed the egg shells at the bottom of the container to see if the extra calcium will do some good. I do not bother to poke holes, as the paper is porous and will leak out any extra moisture.  When the plants have grown out of them, I plant the entire pod, paper and all. 

Everything will fit and disentegrate in the ground.

You can use pots to grow vegetables.

I started my daughter with a couple of planters and a big black pot. In the planters I had spinach,lettuces and peas. In the big black pot, three kinds of tomatoes. She was hooked after that. Three things to take care of.  I showed her that an upside down water bottle with a single hole can continue to water her pot for days. 

This year, she is converting her lawn, building raised beds, and using compost she built all winter long. She'll save a few hundred dollars on food. Most importantly, she'll taste what food really tastes like when it is has not been contaminated and fussed over with chemicals.

Notice that I am trying some new Italian seeds because I was told these have not been engineered. Besides, they remind me of the special greens I had growing up in Italy: rapini, radicchio, finocchio. I even found Papaveri, poppies, that will grow to an enormous size. I'm looking forward to these experiments.


This beautiful hillside can also grow edibles for me. I have lots of herbs here and there: lavender, camomille, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sorrel, bay.

In my lower garden, I can grow peas, favas, artichokes and berries without any problems.
So, try raising something from seed.
Try including edibles among your ornamentals.

Find out what grows best in your area and indulge yourself. 

You will be rewarded!

35 comments:

Maggie May said...

That is a wonderful way of growing seeds in an egg carton! No need to disturb the ground because it can go straight in the earth.
I learn something everyday.
That seat peeping out of the flowers, looks just the place to sit..... but I suppose with all those seeds to plant, there isn't much time for sitting!

Nuts in May

lakeviewer said...

Au contraire! I do a lot of sitting, here and there. I can only play at gardening for a short amount of time before I get tired and need to relieve my back.

Growing old is ironic: we have so much time, but not enough energy to keep going. I have to pace myself. I hope you are doing better, and getting stronger, Maggie!

Brian Miller said...

we have grown our own for the last couple years though we end up feeding the deer a lot even with our preventative measures. there is just something that reconnects when you put your hands to the earth...

jinksy said...

Your photo almost makes me wish I had a garden - until you mention the backache! lol :)

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

A friend who is advising me with me first garden told me Burpee seeds are good and non GM.

becky at abbeystyle said...

Wow! I love the simplicity of your methods!! Thanks for teaching me a few new things. Inspiring post. Unfortunately, I'm moving north so my gardening here in the south is ending. Maybe I can get started after we arrive at the end of April.

Shadow said...

well, this doesn't look complicated at all!

Marion said...

I already have 5 egg cartons full of sprouted tomatoes, moonflowers, basil and banana peppers. I just planted some artichokes today along with calendula, hyssop, rosemary, spearmint and bee balm. (Well, I supervised and my hubby planted.) You have a beautiful garden and your post is full of wisdom. Blessings!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

My three rows of green beans sprouted yesterday. Most fun to watch the garden grow.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great idea about the egg cartons - I must do that. I like growing vegetables like runner beans and dwarf beans and peas. I am jusy about fit enough now to start this year's crop now the weather has omproved. Your garden looks very inviting and I could sit on that seat all day (with a cushion of course)

Eva Gallant said...

Not gonna' happen. Had large gardens in my youth; now it's the farmers market for me.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Nothing tastes better than completely fresh vegetables! Love the egg box idea :)

Amy said...

Those Italian seeds are making me jealous! The egg shells seem like a great idea; please let us know if you see a difference.

Our veggie garden is 10' x 6' and it's amazing how much we eat out of it. It's still too early here for the warm season goodies - we're still enjoying broccoli, lettuce, chard, sugar snap peas, spinach, and parsley.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Mmm...you are making me hungry!! We have enlarged our edible garden this year, and I'm so very excited! What a beautiful bench! Can't wait for my garden to grow up! Yours is so gorgeous! You have inspired me today, dear Rosaria! Thank you!! Love, Janine XO

Susan Erickson said...

I'm totally inspired...I'm going to go grab that egg carton from the recycling and save my eggshells too. Sometimes you just need a little encouragement....

Terra said...

You are inspiring me to plant some more seeds, herbs and vegetables. Maybe an artichoke, as you mention.

She Writes said...

I must, must do this next year on my deck!

Hilary said...

There's nothing better than growing your own. It sounds like you'll have a lovely summer.

Rob-bear said...

I'm trying a vegetable garden for the first time this summer. Thinking of it as a victory garden — just not sure about which victory. It's a "retirement" project.

If I can get a few things to grow, I'll think about enlarging the plot next year. But, one year at a time.

I've also been thinking about using pots; need to do some more "homework" first.

All together now: "Inch by inch, Row by row. . . ."

Moannie said...

That is such a good idea but I am far too impatient. Yesterday I planted Aubergine, french beans.three variety of chillies, including scotch bonnet,tomatoes, strawberries, chives and oregano, all in pots and all bought as plugs from our local garden centre. Oh and Geraniums...yum, can't wait...hope to get a good harvest if the slugs don't eat'em all. Great ideas though...I shall just have to start sowing earlier next year.

Lydia said...

This is inspirational for me. We had a small garden in our back lot three years ago, and only because I had a man come and till the ground with a machine. It has been neglected since then. My husband has no inclination, interest, or energy for a garden. So I guess I find it daunting to think of doing it on my own. But I think I will stir up the ground out there and plant some seeds (it may be too late) and see what comes up. My favorite garden treat three years ago: French Breakfast Radishes

Life As I Know It said...

I was JUST writing about the very same thing. Yesterday we started our veggie seeds inside. The growing season here is short.
As we were planting them in the trays, we were wondering if we could have used egg cartons instead...next year!

Reya Mellicker said...

We grow herbs here, but the tree canopy is so heavy on Tennessee Avenue that we can't grow actual vegetables. One year we tried on the roof but they fried up there, even though we watered every day.

There are community gardens all over DC. I should get involved in one of them.

lakeviewer said...

Folks,
Start with things you love and can't get enough of. Herbs, for instance. They are easy to grow in pots, all together,even. Sometimes, the garden center will have a pot already to go for you. Take that home, and snip off the outer leaves for your cooking pleasure.

Once you use fresh herbs in your cooking, you'll never go back to dry. (Almost never! Though, fresh oregano has a different taste than dried orgegano.) Herbs will flavor your food to a point where you'll need less and less salt; and that's a very good switch.

Many of them self-seed in warm climates, so if you have a pot of basil this year, let it go to seed at the end of the season, and you'll have continuous basil in the same pot.

I have to buy new seeds or plugs every year since our cool weather is too cool for those seeds to germinate on their own force.

I can't wait to get my hands dirty.

Speaking of which, if you have not had your tetanus shot updated, do that before you mess with dirt!

Happy gardening.

I'm making a big soup today, using my frozen veggies from last year's crop, and flavoring it with my own blend of dried herbs: thyme, oregano, basil, chervil. Happy eating. I'll save you a bowl, with a big slice of focaccia on the side.

Tiffany Norris said...

My problem is that we live in an apartment with only a patio that gets virtually no sunlight (no bit of ground of our own). But we'd love to grow our own food! Any suggestions? :)

lakeviewer said...

If you have no place to garden, then your best bet is to work with your community to start a common garden, where many people can have their own plots.

Years ago, in Tallahassee, Fl, we were poor students living in tight quarters. The community gardens we started offered us all a great opportunity to grow our own.

You can also access CSA community supported agriculture,cooperative groups of farmers selling directly to the public. The Web will list what's available in your neck of the woods.

Good luck!

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

Wow, you inspire me with this! I actually tried to grow my own flowers from seeds this year, I should've used your egg carton idea!! (P.S. I was not very successful!)

Second time's a charm...

Ivy and Haley said...

You are inspiring me. I particularly want to grow my own basil and my own kale - those are two things that I use like mad. I'm psyched to start eating things that come from the earth, not the store.

Come visit me.
http://ivyandhaley.blogspot.com

Ivy

Everyday Goddess said...

what a beautiful garden! looks delicious too.

karen said...

I just love this post! I am motivated again, to try again with our vegetable and herb garden. They all drowned in the rain recently.. it really does make total sense to do this! thanks for the inspiration :)

RNSANE said...

This sounds so wonderful, Rosaria. I am engulfed in constant fog in Daly City but I want to grow arugula which I eat with everything - also that wonderful shisu I had in Japan. I could live on those two things, with tomatoes and, perhaps, I would lose a little weight!

lakeviewer said...

I am thinking we work too hard for the things we love. If you can grow some things you love, go for it.

Carmen: arugula is one of the easiest greens, and self-sowing. You can pick the leaves all summer long, and at the end, let it go to seed. Use the wild variety, as it will seed and reproduce.

For everyone: many seeds are modified (see the movie Foods Inc. for the story about seeds being modified to resist Round Up, a herbicide) so you can't gather seeds that will reproduce again. Bummer! This is a major problem we are now stuck with, as our farmers have to constantly buy new seed every year. Who knew? We solve one problem, and we produce others. Modified seeds are everywhere.

Thanks for visiting!
Happy Gardening!

Peter @ italyMONDO! said...

That chair is so inviting... would love to be reading a book there tonight.

Lilacs in the air, cool spring breeze....

Doesn't get better than that :-)

Rambles with Reese said...

You make me want to wish I had a garden!

Thanks for sharing such useful information!

Simon C. Larter said...

My wife and I are growing as much of our own food as we can in our tiny space this summer. We're SO going to try that egg carton thing. How convenient is that?

Oh, and we discovered last year that mint will take over whatever space you try to put it in. Yeah.