January 3, 2018. Every morning, I walk into the kitchen and I see my little lettuce farm on the counter. This isn’t just a source of salad – it’s a source of great pleasure and satisfaction. It brings happiness. And when it is a source of salad, the salad delivers a a layer of satisfaction that really is unique to eating something you’ve grown. Something you’ve taken care of, from seed to big, healthy green organism.
I’m not just talking to my pot-growing Colorado subscribers here – everyone can do this on a windowsill. If you’ve been discouraged by slow growth in the long dark days of the north, use one of these LED-lit AeroGardens. The photo of the lettuce patch at the top of this column was taken four weeks after planting – and we’d already picked two salads by that time. Now we’re getting two big salads each week, like the one at the bottom of this column.
The hydroponic, no-soil AeroGarden is the Way to do hands-on gardening without getting your hands dirty. But when you really want to get your hands dirty, get a pot full of soil or dig a hole in your yard. Plants pretty much grow themselves outdoors and on sunny windowsills during the warm-weather season. Just add water and a bit of fertilizer. Small space is not an excuse: I grow salsa in a pot on a New York rooftop. Tomatoes, chile peppers and cilantro. In one square foot. In a few square feet, I grow corn. You might enjoy these: Indoor Kitchen Gardening; Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space
Resolve now. Plant later. But not too late. Do your seed shopping now. So you’ve got them when the soil thaws, the air warms and the sun gets higher. This could be transformational. The thing that makes you a gardener. That slows you down and lets you appreciate something that’s both very simple and unimaginably complicated.
Get the AeroGarden 7 LED
Thoughts For Food
I first read Wendell Berry, the great farmer-philosopher, in 1971 when his “Think Little” essay appeared in The Last Whole Earth Catalog. He wrote, “Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating. The food he grows will be fresher, more nutritious, less contaminated by poisons and preservatives and dyes, than what he can buy at the store. He is reducing the trash problem; a garden is not a disposable container, and it will digest and re-use its own wastes. If he enjoys working in his garden, then he is less dependent on an automobile or a merchant for his pleasure. He is involving himself directly in the work of feeding people.”
I still read him. Sometimes I eat while I read. When I’m really lucky, I’m reading him while I eat something I grew. Like this salad.
The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural, by Wendell Berry
Bringing It To The Table: On Farming and Food, by Wendell Berry
Salsa Garden in a Pot
Brandywine, Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe tomatoes
Ancho & Jalapeno peppers