Plant Babies

A few months ago I thought it would be a good idea to try to eat more locally grown foods. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how big an impact my food footprint has on my total carbon footprint. As we know, most food in the grocery store is flown in from all over the world. For me, it is very difficult to find even a few items produced locally, let alone in my province. Realizing this, I started shopping at the Farmer’s Market, where I could buy my food from the very farmer who grew it. I later did some research, and found a local dairy supplier, wine supplier, beer supplier, and most importantly (yes – even more important than the beer and wine) a local flour supplier. Eating local feels really good, it feels like I am helping farmers, the food is fresher, and yes, it tastes better.

As I continued on thinking about local food, I realized that because I live in a northern climate, it would be impossible to eat locally year round, without some careful planning, preserving and storage. Food available summer must be preserved for winter. You can freeze it, can it, dehydrate it or put it in a root cellar. I was inspired by people living here, in my cold city, who grow enough food in their backyards to last them all winter. This can be done. People do this. Maybe I can do it too?

So I decided to grow a vegetable garden. Not just a few tomatoes, but a whole big garden, with potatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, cucumber, squash, beans and peas. I want to grow enough tomatoes to preserve tomato sauce all winter, enough onions that will last through the winter, and a pile of carrots that will get me through at least until fall. I want to freeze some peas and beans, I want to store some potatoes and beets, and I want to eat fresh salads all summer. Can I do it?

Well it starts with these guys:

They are officially one month old today – my assortment of tomatoes and peppers. It is exciting to watch them change day by day, how some varieties started out slow but have now surged ahead, and how I am able to now discern differences in the foliage in the varieties, being able to pick out a variety from a line up, even at this young age. When I first transplanted them from their little pods to their pots, they looked so grown up, standing tall all by themselves. I am proud of my plant babies.

These guys were just recently started. Here we have parsley, mint, basil, oregano and lettuce:

So far, so good. However, I have a secret fear of failure in this venture. How can I grow food for myself? Doesn’t it require some kind of magical skill? I started this process knowing absolutely nothing, and here I am a couple of months later growing 48 seedlings… Can I even pull this off?

I really hope so. I really want to grow an actual real garden, to feed my family, to feed myself, to feed my soul.

Grow, little plant babies.  Grow.

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10 thoughts on “Plant Babies

  1. I managed to get all sorts of pests on totally indoor plants. I think I need to rethink my dream of self-sufficiency (either that, or start hitting the books hard on how to do it right). I hope your plants do much better!

    • My indoor herb garden was a flop. The parsley and mint survived, but the basil and sage are weak and leggy, and the thyme and rosemary died a quick death. I think it is harder to grow plants indoors.

  2. Don’t lose hope! There are so many resources both online and in print that can help you. I’m sure you will be able to troubleshoot just about anything that comes up. You can always ask for advice from the nice folks at the farmers’ market! 🙂

    • I know, I know. I have just put so much time and effort into it, I feel so invested, I just really want it to work. I have read lots and lots of books, so I am sure if they can do it, I can too!

  3. Every finger of mine is crossed for you, (they aren’t particularly green fingers mind you.)
    I think growing your own food is incredibly satisfying. Heartbreaking too, when I look out to see my mint ravaged by caterpillars, and my chilli looking despondant, but still I continue on.
    Happy gardening Sherry.

  4. A rosemary hint for Sherry Greens:
    My past efforts at growing rosemary have been plagued by problems including that the seed packet that said it was rosemary turned out to be thyme. I was at a friends house a few weeks ago and… after she had accidentally broken a few sprigs off her very healthy rosemary plant she had put them in water to keep them fresh until she could use them. The sprigs had grown roots so… this year I went to the grocery store and bought a package of rosemary (herbs for cooking) and used rooting compound to get them started. I popped them into a little soil and so far theya re looking good. I’ve even pulled one out to check and sure enough there are little roots starting. Good luck with your growing.

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