Friday, April 4, 2008

The Popsicle Forest

Welcome to the popsicle forest!!! It lives in my room, and is peopled by frail, skinny life forms that flop over without correct support...

OK, it's my burgeoning garden. These to the left here are giant sunflowers, the kind that will eventually be about twelve feet tall. You can't see them clearly in this photo, but also planted in these three trays (which do, in fact, live in our bedroom) are geraniums, various petunia varieties, nasturtium, and a few other lesser-known plants.

These beauties to the right here are veggies. Actually, they're currently a lot bigger than this, but I'm too lazy to heave my largesse upstairs to take another photo (I swear, these are the most well-documented plants ever grown! I may have more photos of these babies than some people do of their third- or fourth-born kids!), so here they are as they appeared about a week ago. From left to right, they are chocolate cherry corn (which will be dark ears with pink silk), decorative gourds, max pumpkins, and purple pole beans. The pumpkins are my favorites; one day I thought that the cat had been playing in the dirt, so naturally I was preparing to skin her alive, when I noticed upon closer inspection that in fact giant leaves had displaced literally *chunks* of dirt all in one night. At the moment, this is the best performing tray, with everything up. The beans are all about five inches tall, and same with the corn.

This is the last photo I will bore you with today (see, this must be what people without kids must feel like when cornered by the rest of us). Here we have, clockwise from top left, an entire tray of dwarf snapdragons, white sunflowers on sticks and candycane zinnias, larger snapdragons with variegated zinnias, and a fourth tray with cukes (the tallest ones), red, orange and chocolate sweet peppers, two kinds of watermelons, lettuce, and two kinds of tomatoes. Again, another older photo, but you can see the life in them anyway. The peppers just started showing their heads the other day, as I was despairing of ever seeing them at all.

Tonight on the kitchen table I have three varieties of morning glories (the Japanese Murasakihigezaki will be my favorite, if it comes up) and two Passiflora vines (when you look at this link, just above the passiflora photo there's a small image of a corkscrew vine that I will be soaking and then planting tomorrow).

I got all my seeds online, and all the veggie seeds are heirloom plants, meaning that they have been harvested from plants who in turn were harvested naturally from plants, in some cases all the way back to the 1800's. I did this for several reasons; one, because a lot of seeds today are genetically engineered to self-destruct after one season so you have to keep buying from The Man, and two, because they are tastier than the hybrids that are typically sold in stores today that have been carefully bred over the years to favor standard size and hardiness over flavor. Also, it makes me increasingly nervous that we are so reliant on only a few strains of plants; all it would take would be one or two serious viruses to wipe out a large amount of the vegetation we rely on in general society. Again, this steered me to the heirloom varieties.

I have been wanting to grow veggies for years, but what finally pushed me over the edge was Barbara Kingsolver's 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle'. Kingsolver is an amazing writer (The Poisonwood Bible, among many of hers, is one of my favorite books ever), and a few years ago she and her family made the commitment to live full-time on what had been their summer home in VA, and live off only food they grew themselves and whatever could be produced within a certain number of miles from their home. It's a very interesting read, with many recipes and ideas, and it 's what finally got me off my butt and growing. Even if you're not interested in growing your own stuff, it's still worth a perusal.

And that, ladies, is my diatribe for today!


Creative Kerfuffle said...

the popsicle forest picture is my favorite--it really is a great photo. i'm so impressed with your growing things from seeds in flats, really. heirloom seeds? very cool. we've planted a lot of stuff this year so far, but not from seed. pumpkins--i want to have our own pumpkins for halloween but thought i needed to plant them later in the year. are you planting fun pumpkins or cooking/eating pumpkins?

desperate housewife said...

I love the part about, "This must be what people without kids feel like when cornered by us!"