Friday, September 21, 2007

state of the 'stead

Time to establish a baseline. I am, by virtue of being a graduate student at an urban institution, living in a downtown apartment. I love this place, but since a) I don't own the property and b) I have limited outdoor space and sunshine access, I am necessarily constrained in what I can do. I will view that as an opportunity for creativity. I am also limited by the commitment I have made to be a full time conscientious doctoral student. I guess the optimistic view of that is as an opportunity for developing superhuman time management skills.

Food is the major focus at the moment.

I moved to my current apartment in mid-August, so although I do have some gardening space, I haven't yet established a garden. Here's a photo of the one tiny bell pepper I managed to get this year. It was ripening this week, and fell off while I wasn't looking - lost one side due to mushiness sitting against damp ground, but the other half was delicious!

A major project to be undertaken before next spring is building a squirrel-proof bed. The squirrels here are merciless; at my last apartment they dug up most of the bulbs a neighbor planted, ate the blooms off of the bulbs they didn't dig up, and ate every single one of the blooms off of the one squash plant that managed to grow at all. Since that apartment was just a block from here, I don't expect to find more respectful squirrels here. I'll need good wire screens.

In the meantime, I have transitioned to buying a good majority of my food at the farmers' market - we have a fabulous one, within walking distance, and it will operate indoors during the winter months. I'm also excited about a coop scheduled to open in October just around the corner from my apartment - that will eliminate driving to a grocery store or even further to one of the other coops for bulk stuff like flour, rice, oats, and quinoa (new favorite grain!).

I also have a hydroponic garden in the kitchen, a gift from my parents. Last spring I grew herbs, this year I'm thinking it will be strawberries...or cherry tomatoes...or snowpeas...need to get that going again as soon as I decide what I want!

Goals for the next couple of weeks: make granola, install a kitchen shelf for my jars of bulk foods, start looking for concrete/brick/other construction scrap that I can make a garden path out of.


Crazy Mumma said...

Hi elia,

I'm a beginnner vegie gardener, and I've found growing a few of my own fruit and vegetables *enormously* rewarding, and I'm sure you will too :-) Good luck with fending off those sqirrels though!

Cheers, Julie.

rhonda jean said...

don't forget sprouts. You can grow them inside and they're highly nutritious.

elia said...

Ooh, sprouts! I adore sprouts...and am kicking myself for overlooking them until now. Thanks, Rhonda! I will definitely include them in my plans!