Gardening in mid-air

Well, 10 stories up, that is.

Before the first freeze I wanted to give you a tour of my container garden and show you what can be done with just a little space, some soil, buckets, and seeds.


 

I even harvested carrots today!

I got Burpee’s “Short and Sweet” seed variety. They say to grow them in deep soil, but 5″ was enough to produce these beauties, almost 3″ long!

Simple strawberries

A deceptively easy “grow your own food” plant I’ve found is the alpine strawberry. Slightly smaller than regular strawberries, they grow really well in containers, indoor or out. The strawberries are small and have a bright taste with a subtle grape flavor. It’s like two fruits in one!

I have three plants in each 18″-long window-box style container.

 

 

They get watered daily since apparently they like to stay cool. They can get a little dry but not so dry that they wilt. Mine get full, hot sun and so far they’re doing okay. I also have two indoors in a bright window. They’re not doing quite as well though so indoors may not be the ideal place.

Okay, so how did I grow these awesome looking berries? I have to admit I think my secret is a little bottle of green liquid. My sister-in-law’s boyfriend said that the berry plants and tomoatoes will flower best if you use a fertilizer that has a good amount of phosphorus in it. Apparently you can figure out if your fertilizer has good phosphorus levels by looking at the numbers on the label. If the middle one is highest, then it should have enough phosphorus to encourage good flowering. I use Schultz’s all purpose plant food with a 10-15-10 Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium ratio. More phosphorus (to a point) = more flowers. More flowers = more berries. I may not like math much, but that’s some nice arithmetic there.

First harvest! Small but tasty. Glad the hubs is away with family–more berries for me!

Have you had any luck with strawberries?

New condo, new garden!

My super-long absence at least happened for a good reason: we bought a condo in February! We’ve gained a lot in going from renting to owning. Unfortunately one of those things we’ve gained is a large mortgage payment each month. But there a lot of good things!

1. An extra bedroom and bathroom! This brings us up to 1200 square feet. I was hoping to end up with less square footage, but we figure we’ll need the extra space when we have kids.

2. Lots of extra closet space. Now all of our junk fits well in our living space, even when we still own too much of certain things. Now we just have to fight the urge to fill up the closets.

3. A storage unit. It has a gigantic concrete pillar in the middle of it which should help us avoid filling it with lots of junk we don’t need.

4. A big patio! Southeastern exposure seems to be doing well for our plants. And I have a lot of those!

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We’ve started lettuce, tomatoes, and spring onions.

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Our lettuce is doing so much better than last year. Ready for the salad bowl!

Aerogarden update: the grow anything kit does work!

I’ve become a fan of mint tea recently. What I’m not a fan of is the high price and large amount of packaging on the fresh organic mint at the grocery store. I don’t like the packaging that comes with mint tea bags either.

I gave up on the kit that came with my aerogarden and decided that I wanted to grow some mint. I bought some mint seeds online and the aerogarden grow anything kit. The kit was horribly expensive but in the end I think it’ll save me some money. It’s been about a month in my cube at work now and look how much it’s grown!

 

Did you know that you can put small plants next to the aerogarden to give them extra light? A small plant can grow from seed with just the ambient light from the aerogarden. This basil plant has grown tall and strong and I grew it from seeds with just the aerogarden light. No real sunlight.

Very pretty. And tasty I’m sure!

Apparently I’m the new kind of domestic diva

My mother will be thrilled. Ha.

Check out this

great article on the ideas of living smaller, cheaper, leaner and greener from the Washington Post.

Un-killable office plants: the dracaena

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but it gave me time to find (and attempt and fail to kill) another office plant.

This lovely red and green beauty is called a dracaena. Apparently they can get quite large. Mine don’t seem to have grown in two months though.

They don’t need direct light and can go several days with dry soil and still be fine. Great for my concrete bunker! er, office. Nice colors too.

dracaena

Greening Our Travel: Overnight on Amtrak

It’s time to confess. I used to have A-list status on Southwest Airlines. Yes, folks, that means I took more than 32, count ‘em, THIRTY TWO flights in a year on that airline alone (and I didn’t always fly Southwest).

Air travel produces ridiculous amounts of CO2 and you get to your destination exhausted, hungry, embarrassed by TSA, and far poorer financially than when you started. What’s the solution? Take the train!

My husband hadn’t seen his brother in Chicago in a year so we decided to take Amtrak overnight from Washington D.C. to Chicago. We booked a roomette–a small sleeper cabin on their overnight trains. Round trip cost the same amount as flying. Who’d have guessed?

So next time you think about getting on a plane, think about how much more green (and pleasant) the alternative is!

Plenty of space during the day. Bring your books or an ipod. Lousy cell signals in West Virginia!

Roomette set up for sleeping. Nice and cozy! (hint…get the bigger room if you want to share the bed with your spouse without injuring each other.)

fold-out checkerboard w/ good and plenty pieces

The cabins come with fold-out tables that double as checker/chess boards. Bring your own pieces at your own risk. Good and Plentys worked fine until we rounded our first corner.

Lounge car by night

Lounge car by night.

Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer, then you’ll have your ham and eggs in Carolina

Oh, and did I mention that the food is included with your ticket?

Josh's dinner.

Real. Food. ‘Nuff said.

Stream in West Virginia.

We woke up to this fine fall view.

One of the larger rooms.

One of the larger rooms, big enough for three. Comes with its own bathroom!

And now…videos!

Tour of our sleeper car:

The roomette set-up for nighttime:

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