September 10, 2010

Growhouse resurrected earlier than planned?

Somewhere between the weather forecast and the sports talk I heard a random "expert" on our local radio station this morning talk gardening tips. It was strange, as this station usually just repeats exactly the same thing every 10 minutes. Traffic is on the 8's (12:08, 12:18, etc) which is the only reason I listen; there's about 8 minutes of commercials and maybe some sports talk to round out the rest of the 10 minutes. Usually I have to listen a good 30 minutes before I remember to pay attention to the traffic report rather than thinking about things like how much I love nachos or how badly I need a nap. But it's all cool, because in half an hour you go about 2 miles in DC traffic, so no big deal.


He claims I should bring in all my pepper plants now. I don't have a nice sunny window as he recommends but I do have a decent sized grow house just waiting to get back to work.

His theories were -
  • If you bring pepper plants inside they will last through the winter and be even bigger and better when next season rolls around. He claims his have lasted 8 years.
  • If you wait too long to do it, you will be half asleep when you hear the frost warning and be too lazy to do it at all.
I do have quite a few in transportable pots that I can just toss in the bathtub/grow house. Many of the peppers are in the garden, but their understudies remain on the deck, in tiny pots. It's tempting. Not sure what I'll do with them once it's time to start the seed growing again. Buy more grow lights?  Dear Santa....

September 9, 2010

Random fist shaking

The tomato production of the remaining plants has slowed considerably, yet I still have to water as often as before. Seems unfair.

I have pulled more of the tomatoes I hate; still trying to transplant the understudies into garden space in hopes I can extend the growing season.

Went to the local hippie farmer's market today -- everything is grown within 100 miles and I swear people wear fake Amish hats to sell more food. (OK, OK, maybe they were Mennonites, but I still think they were milking it; those hats didn't even fit.) Before me was the most delicious spread of onions, peppers, tomatoes, etc. for $2/lb or less.  All that work I do, and I could drive 3 miles to get a wider variety of produce at 1/50000th the cost.

This weekend I spent over an hour chopping/squeezing/washing to make salsa for a relative's birthday. Barely ended up with one full jar.

To review: Gardens are a lot of time/work/energy and not necessarily cost effective. Also when fall comes and everything starts to die, you will get so depressed you will want to snuggle your shriveled up Arkansas Traveler vines. Oh winter, I hate you already and you're still months away. Still though, it gives me a reason to live for Spring and start all over again.

Speaking of the farmer's market

Here's what we had for dinner. All of it was produced locally unless otherwise indicated.

  • Free range chicken coated in goat cheese with dill. Marielle's chicken was transformed into nuggets, while I just ate the cheese alone in my salad. Both items came from the fake Amish people. (It's OK to talk about them, because if they are truly Amish the shiny knowledge box doesn't infiltrate their homes and they will never know.)
  • Green, yellow and purple beans. 
  • Salad of tomatoes from my back yard plus grocery store lettuce & tomatoes left over from a previous meal. Marielle didn't eat the salad, but did eat cucumber sticks.
  • Nectarines & plums. 
It was absolutely delicious and probably the most vegetables my daughter has ever eaten in one setting. I really do think it helped that she explored the market with me and I faked excitement over every single thing we saw.

Of course two hours later I was starving, but it's a good start.

September 5, 2010

You might be a garden nerd if...

You pay Virginia Tech $10 to analyze your soil.