Plants (that feed) In The City.

Just a real quick blog before I go to bed. There are many things to write about and as usual my resolution for 2010 is to be regular. Whatever. However, this one is to begin a new category I’ve categorised as ‘my urban gardening’. Now that I have moved into an apartment it calls for a change in the way I grow my food. In the last blog I lamented about the lack of composting and the heartache I got after throwing my kitchen scraps in the rubbish bin. Two months and still living through a fabulous summer I have got an eggplant, a chilli plant and a tomato plant. I also got herbs. Rosemary, lemon basil, mint and parsley. The right corner of the planter is

empty because my third attempt at growing coriander failed. (Just started a new experiment today, the results of which I shall know and blog about soon.) For the moment I’ve planted calendula which is medicinal, edible and smells nice.

Yeah so there is great pleasure in seeing Mother Earth give you food. I was thrilled when the first chillies sprouted on the plant. I have seen this many times and I never cease to be amazed. So it was with the tomatoes too.

I used the chillies today when I made a savoury from puffed rice. The tomatoes are not ready yet but boy have they grown. Here is how they look now, the tomato and chilli plants. The white arrows indicate the number of chillies that have grown on it. The eggplant has not yet got ‘fruit’. All I do is to water the plants every morning before it gets too hot. There is no plan to add fertiliser-and anyway the potting mix has fertiliser that will last for six months, by which time it will be winter.

Apart from using the herbs for cooking (lemon basil goes really well with Indian food), I made a pot-pourri from them. It is easy. I dried rosemary, mint and lemon basil leaves, lavender leaves plucked from a hedge on my street and used oolong tea leaves.  All I need is one of those fancy little silk bags in which to bundle them up.

The next step is to begin composting. I had a chat with my neighbours downstairs this morning and they offered me use of their worm farm. Nick opened it up for me-it looks fabulous with the creepie-crawlies, the earthworms and the ‘earthworm poop’ (as little Ryan put it) that comes out from the waste. (In my next blog about urban gardening I will insert the photo.)

None of what I am doing is new or ground breaking but the pleasure of growing one’s own food, or some of the ingredients, in an urban environment; reading and researching about gardening and techniques that allow humans to adapt ‘farming’ to new environments; watching a seed germinate and ultimately give fruit are all activities that bond me and the land. Homo Sapiens tamed wild vegetation for aeons to make food from it and now we have to learn how to take that further through changing landscapes and civilisations as if cultivating an apple tree in the  your flat’s balcony is a normal thing. Why should food and farming be a distant, rural concept?

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