Thursday, April 17, 2008

The home of an indoor vegetable gardener

I've spent more than a year on my experiment, and I thought I would give you a (selective) tour of my home. The picture above portrays my seedling and first replant window. Since I have no seedlings now the last batch are thriving in their new pots. The window faces east, and eventhough nothing shadows on the outside it's too dark. I've planned a nursery with growlights - hopefully I'll be able to build it next week.

Here you can see the reason why my projects often are delayed - I'm always building something. This time it's shelving units, on other occasions it can be some other ikea furniture in need of modification, one of my own inventions being constructed with plywood - or I've got a tool I absolutely have to use. When I made my nurseries I'll deconstruct pallets into raised beds - by then I'll know if I've got hold on an allotment or not (the allotment association is pretty hard to get in touch with).

Sometimes my bad conscience hits me. I describe this experiment as taking place in a normal flat on various occasions. Thing is, our flat isn't normal, it's a two story flat with a two story window in the library (the room normal people would call a living room - but we are quite bohemian). To compensate for this handicap I try to limit the number of windows I use for gardening. This counts as two, which means I total at four by now. This one is facing south, and I'll soon be able to switch off the growlights for the summer.

The djungle at the bottom story consist of two nasturtiums 'alaska', two tomatoes - I collected the seeds from a cherry tomato bought at the mall, and two plants of indian spinach planted in a big plastic box. In the foreground you see another of the plastic boxes, filled with tiger nuts.

I've placed lighter plants in the top story; two carrots - I use the leaves for sallads, two amaranths 'calaloo red' (can't help being fond of that name) and a batch of chives that doesn't look happy (at least I think the leaves are supposed to stand up instead of hanging down). A small mizuna cabbage are feeling miserable and will probably be thrown out next time I'm relocating new plants.

Like many other gardens my plantations have their dead spots. This is another box with tiger nuts that have survived for months of mistreatment. Right now it's residing in a room that isn't used, which means I only occasionally take a look at it. The plants have survived since they stand in a plastic selfwatering container; the water stays in the soil untill they drink it. And also; this is tiger nuts - a weed you can't stomp out of your garden unless you have really cold winters. Don't plant them outdoors.

All my tigernuts will be given away in exchange for other plants - for example ground-elder, another plant only meant for containers.

If you think the tigernuts seems to be in a bad state you should take a look at their neighbour:

It's a spurge. It's not edible, which means I loose interest.

What's this? This is definately not edible! No, this is my plastic drawer where I store empty eggshells for my sowing sessions, cartons to tear up for bedding in my vermicompost, paperrolls and netbags (you know the kind some stores use for orange packaging). Contraptions of this kinds kind of shows up when you've been into indoor vegetable gardening for a while, because you need to store a lot of stuff somewhere. Under our stairs I keep two boxes of soil and a twentyfive litre carboy for demineralised water. The carboy is used as buffert since I use over ten litres of water those occasiones every plant is thirsty at the same time. My original five litre carboy won't last long then (but I still use it since it easy to pour from). Other indoor gardening stuff are kept in the bathroom.

Here's my new herbgarden. The basil and salvia thrives. The stevia is the current apple of my eye, eventhough it grows slowly. I'll throw out the garlic next time I add new plants to this window; it suddenly stopped growing and neither wither nor grows any taller.

Take a good look at the pots. Since I keep my 'gardens' in our home I want them to look nice and normally I only grow stuff in single coloured plastic containers or terracotta pots. The salvia grown in a plastic bucket with faded colours is a gift I keep forgetting to give away. I sometimes glare at it during breakfasts, but I also do think it proves the fact that you can grow stuff in almost anything.

This is another window facing east - I suspect I'll need to keep the growlight during most of the summer. It's fascinating how much difference the point of the compass does.


So, this is how my home looks at the moment. Perhaps it's not a big surprise that I plan some new projects. I'm adding another window to the gardens, and will make a second nursery out of wood left over from the first one. Soon I'll be able to say "It's a jungle in here!" again.

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