Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where I've been.

Because it's obvious I haven't been here, at my blog.

Well, I took a trip to Seattle.

Pike Place was my Favorite Place. More photos from my Seattle foodventures soon!

Spent a weekend sipping wines in Santa Barbara.

Beautiful Sanford Winery. And delicious Sanford wines.

But mostly, I've been in my little balcony, tending to my little garden.

Now, I'm notoriously terrible at gardening -- an attribute that is known by former roommates, old co-workers, friends and family. But I love the concept of growing one's own food. I love working the soil with my fingers, planting a tiny seed, and waiting patiently for it to grow into a beautiful plant. I love thinking about Mother Nature's amazing ability to do this. And I love semi-frightening people with my hippie talk.

Many, many times I have tried and failed to grow plants (and keep them alive). Herb garden kits, tulips, even bamboo plants have suffered and died from my gardening inability. But with a little inspiration and encouragement from my co-worker, whom I now call my "garden godmother," I decided to give it another go.

I started with edamame seeds I had bought in Japan a year ago. I was amazed and encouraged when they germinated quickly and grew so rapidly (considering they had been dormant for more than a year). They were doing incredibly well for a very long time, until...

Still clinging to life.
They got attacked by what I later figured out were leaf miner bugs (awful tiny things that burrow inside the leaves of the plant). I also read somewhere that edamame plants apparently need a soil depth of at least 13-15 inches. My poor plants, which were in a 5-inch planter, were seriously suffering from lack of soil nutrients. And I probably overwatered them, too. Oops.

BUT I was able to harvest four little pods from my entire set of plants. I steamed them quickly in the microwave and the beans were so sweet and tasty. They may have tasted just as good as a frozen bag of edamame from Trader Joe's, but I had to give myself a little pat on the back for keeping something alive long enough to produce something that was actually edible.

The edamame plants eventually died, but I've learned from my mistakes and I'm totally encouraged to try again. In the meantime, I've been growing, from transplants, strawberries (regular and alpine), purple basil, Italian parsley, piquin peppers and a variety of succulents.

My sempervivum tectorum began flowering!

I'm also growing daisies, sweet pea and cilantro from seed, and sweet basil from cuttings. One of my strawberry plants even produced a baby plant from a runner!

So, I guess the point of this post is: I'm sorry I haven't been blogging because I've been gardening, but really I'm not sorry because gardening is awesome and everyone should totally feel encouraged to garden and grow their own food.

Also, I'll post a wrap-up of my Seattle trip next.


DanGarion said...

Awesome job! Sorry to hear about the stupid bugs! We've been having some bug and vermin (squirrel) issues this year, but our tomatoes have been pretty good.

Inez Valentina said...

Thanks, Dan! Any encouragement is appreciated. The tomatoes you let me pick from your garden a while ago were so sweet! Wish those pesky pests would leave gardens alone.

Linda said...

Congrats on your cute garden! Can't wait til I can come over and eat a whole salad's worth. lol.

Inez Valentina said...

Thanks, Linda! I'd be happy to feed you garden salad.