Saturday, February 13, 2010


Every few years I experience a particularly intense urge to have plants. It mostly comes out of the desire to have a small, fuzzy animal to take care of, but not having the space or funds to support and feed said fuzzy animal at that particular time. So I usually acquire vegetable plants instead.

Soon, the Lincoln Square farmers' market will be starting up again, and I'll have my pick of any number of homegrown seedlings. The question is; what will I keep this year?

Assuming I'll have a job in the next few weeks (because that very much affects what I do with the garden, or even what state I'll be gardening in), I would like to get my usual pot or two of cayenne peppers started up. (They were stupidly allowed to wither last year, thanks to me being dumb and leaving the horticulture to my roommate) But I am thinking I might also want to pick up some heirloom tomatoes (or just tomatoes, period.)

I have been grossly malnourished over the past several months, due to the fact that, well, I have no job. And so, right now, my lack of fresh food is appalling to me. I'm not even sure what I would do with tomatoes, as I don't particularly like them, but I'm sure I can pawn them off on my roommate, or integrate them into *something.*

I would also like to try my hand at growing potatoes, something I have not tried since my family planted one or two as an experiment when I was a child.

Lastly, english peas, as I recall my childhood neighbors having a vine of them in their backyard, and the little neighbor girl and I used to shell and eat them right off the vine many years ago.

Of course, if I had my way, all this would be supplemented with yellow onions, garlic, and corn at the very least, because I adore each of these things. (and my roommate uses a literal head of garlic in every single thing she cooks. Every day. Ever.) But I really, seriously doubt I have the space for any of these things, since our backyard is A) about 12 feet square and B) we have to share it with the upstairs neighbors. Such is life in a city.

The backyard is sunny and wonderful, but not in any of the places I want to dig up and use. So I'll likely be container planting the peppers and tomatoes. I have a spot picked out for a trellis of peas, against the garage, and... god help me if I figure out what to do with these potatoes, but I just kind of want to chuck them in a rubbermaid with some dirt and see what happens.

But, yes. In a fabulously perfect world, I would be blessed with all the bounty I could handle, and I would somehow know exactly what to do with it all. As it stands, I'm using this as experiment number one: Will I actually take care of the green things in my yard? The idea of supplementing my diet (and my wallet!) with food that I've grown myself is awfully attractive, but my resources are woefully thin, and I'm not sure I'm quite ready to take the plunge. But it's now or never, I suppose, if I want to live a little more responsibly, and a little healthier as well.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. Maybe think about bush beans. There are a million varieties , heirloom and F1 hybrid alike, they grow well in containers, and they give you huge quantities of fresh green beans all summer long. This year we'll be growing a whole raised bed of them and freezing what we can't eat fresh.

    Cherry tomatoes (especially the tiny Sunburst or Lemon Drop) love growing in pots, and Jack-Be-Litte pumpkins will make fall an absolute delight. They grow up and over the container edges and spill into the yard with reckless abandon.

    Potatoes will grow in anything. Just hill the dirt up around them as they grow to get more spuds.

    This is an addiction. I understand. It requires self medication. Dose heavy, dose daily.