Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gardening in containers

Summer is nearly upon us, and here is a small collection of photos and a few links on gardening in containers from The Kitchn - inspiring for those like myself who do not have the benefit of a small plot of land to work with but are longing to get our hands in some dirt and bring our very own summer harvests to life. Among the inspirational ideas are a hand-built urban veggie box, baby kale grown indoors, and a picture guide on self-watering containers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Seeding indoors

Check it out! These are all the random plants I seeded this winter, just for fun. I used almost all (except the fiber seed trays and potting soil) repurposed materials - 2.5 gal Water dispenser, 2 ltr soda bottles, yogurt and frozen strawberry containers, used seeding trays, and used window insulation for a mini greenhouse. Look around your house, your neighbor's house, even try some olympic dumpster diving and see what you come up with. Be sure to make sure the container you are using are cleaned and weren't used for anything you wouldn't want near your food like paint or spackle. I have inverted several of these plants to see what could bear it and the tomatoes are doing the best by far. Hot peppers in second and beans in last (although the black beans are beginning to make a run). I will blog about upside down tomatoes another time. We have black and navy beans, radish, pak choi, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and spinach. Mmmm

Friday, April 3, 2009

Seed saving and sharing

A mindful opinion piece in India's Business Standard, Latha Jishnu rallies awareness for the potential threats to Iraqi farmers in the aftermath of reconstruction and the passage of Order 81, a seed patent law that also prohibits Iraqi farmers from saving and reusing any of their own seeds. Resting on the historical soil of the "‘fertile crescent’ of Mesopotamia where man first domesticated wheat more than 8,000 years ago," Iraq is home to many varieties of seeds stemming from centuries of seed development and exchange. A reported 97% of farmers in Iraq use their own seeds, but, according to Jishnu, indigenous seeds will not survive under Order 81.

In observance of the hardship that seed patents and regulations can place upon farmers and the future of organic food, the Institute of of Near Eastern & African Studies has designated April 26 as International Seeds Day, a worldwide effort to get the word out on "patent-free seeds, organic food, and farmers' rights."

In a personal effort to support the right to save and exchange seeds, it is definitely worthwhile to check out WinterSown, an educational non-profit organization dedicated to the cost-saving germination method of winter sowing. WinterSown also encourages seed saving and trading. They are even willing to share a 6-pack of their seeds with you, for free.

While it may be too late in the year to attempt winter sowing, a pack of shared seeds is certainly a great way to recognize the right to fresh, organic food in a personal and economical way.