Archive for November, 2010

Live Off Your Land

November 30, 2010

SANDPOINT, Idaho: Yup, I’m still here. And nope, I haven’t really figured out where I am going with this blog now that I am no longer growing in the big city… I guess just growing in general no matter where you may live. I did however recently read an article that got me pretty excited. It was printed in The Co-op Country Store Newsletter, a local Sandpoint publication that gets mailed out to pretty much everyone in town. The article that tickled my fancy was

Live Off Your Land – Fifteen Steps You Can Take to Get Out of the Cubicle and Onto Self-Reliance
by Sue Merriam (www.organic-gardening-and-homesteading.com)

It’s cool to live in a place where so many people are driven to take care of themselves. It also goes to show how many untapped resources there are out there – worlds and worlds of info that is completely accessible, helpful, and experience based that we can all learn a lot from. The newsletter and the website both have a bunch of good stuff in ’em so look around and happy reading.

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All The Leaves Are Brown

November 24, 2010

SANDPOINT, Idaho: A blizzard is upon us and tomorrow’s forecast says 21 degrees below zero. If I had wanted weather like this I would have moved to North Dakota. The only thing to do in a situation like this is hunker down with a good book. I am currently reading (concurrently) The Grapes of Wrath & Bringing It to the Table: On Farm and Food. It has been an interesting dichotomy I would highly recommend. It’s funny that Michael Pollen claims Wendell Berry to be the first critic of industrialized farming, when John Steinbeck was dissing the “man” and the “machine” (albeit fictionally) way back in the 1930s. That’s the short version of what I have to say about that.

In other book related news, I’ve been broadening my horizons to the empire of Etsy, and am excited to share some vintage plant related reading material with you:

www.etsy.com/listing/61550314/vintage-hardcover-illustrated-indoor

Introducing I GREW THIS retail?? The general focus of the store is vintage homesteading and house wares – hopefully publications on those matters, if they take. I will be constantly expanding as time allows. My newest place of employment (name withheld) is the perfect catalyst for this new endeavor… please let me know if you are seeking anything vintagey, I would love to keep an eagle eye out for anything your heart desires – igrewthis@gmail.com. Happy hunting!

Building a New Bed

November 14, 2010

SANDPOINT, Idaho: Still figuring out where to take my gardening explorations now that I’m no longer in the city. Hardly urban anymore, one of the first things I did when I got here was revive an old bed that was no longer flourishing. To do this I purchased a bag of top soil, a bag of potting soil and a bag of steer manure at the local home depot. Also bought sedum, a couple of mums and a few decorative cabbages. All and all it was cheap, the mums were only a dollar and the cabbage about three bucks. The ground was surprisingly super hard. I forgot how much work it was to prep an actual plot of earth, instead of just filling a planter with potting soil. I dug up the first foot and a half or so of the existing ground and turned it all over with a shovel chopping in the store bought bags to make it nice and “fluffy.” Next went in the (cheesy, i know) store bought plants and then I tried my luck with some late planting of hardy seed. Radish, mustard and oriental green mixes, cold loving lettuce, carrot, beets… and I don’t remember what else now (this was in September.)

The seedlings came up, but there is no sign of them now. I am sure they have all died away in the cold although there is a pretty thick layer of leaves covering the entire plot these days so who knows, maybe i will be surprised in the spring. I had every intention of building a small cold frame structure over the area before the first frost, but for whatever reason, my ideas are always bigger than my actualities. It never happened. I got caught up in finding a job here instead of just enjoying my time off and doing some of the things I had been meaning to do. It’s not too late though, I can still get something built over the winter and enjoy the fruits of an early spring planting. You know I’ll keep ya posted.

 

A Garden Grows in Portland

November 8, 2010

CHURCH STREET Portland, Oregon: My first trip ever to Portland, Oregon and what an inspiration. My friend Cecily, also a case of west coast relocation from Brooklyn, has really taken advantage of her rented dirt space. The entire front yard was converted into vegetable gardens, which were on the tail end of the season when we visited last month. Never the less, you could really imagine it at its’ peak boasting tons of heirloom tomatoes of several varieties, eggplant, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, peppers, and lettuces.

These suckers were huge! Busting at the seams! And tons more not even ripe yet! There was definitely some major canning to be done!

I never mastered cabbage or eggplant in NYC, as hard as I tried I think I just never had enough earth.


The backyard was gone to the birds, in the best sense. Urban Chickens! The prospect of fresh eggs from my very own flock becomes more and more appealing daily, and here is a perfect example that it is possible. What happy hens these were, pecking in the yard. My dog was very curious.
Also in the back, an impressively gigantic rosemary bush, the remnants of a cucumber vine, more raised beds with tomatoes, and of course… compost.

Thank you, Cecily! For sharing your lovely home and showing us what an awesome place Portland is!

Halloween Colors

November 1, 2010