Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Signs of Life


*thrusts fists in air victoriously*

My Romaine lettuce seeds sprouted!!!

Also, my basil looks a tad bigger today...



It's looking like my tomato plants are growing itty-bitty tomatoes!! (well, either that or it's a tumor...that would suck. Do tomato plants get tumors?)

Now I just wish those damn midges would find somewhere else to hang out. I know they're harmless, but they're just...icky.

In any case, maybe my black thumb has gone dormant? (*shh!* Not so loud! We might wake it up... :-x).


Monday, June 15, 2009

Consulting the Veteran

Yesterday my mother and I ventured over to Brecksville to visit my grandfather. During my visit, I decided to see what advice and tips he could give to help cultivate my "crops". The first thing I did was ask about the midges. You see, I live in Lakewood, one street over from the lake, and those annoying little bugs are everywhere. And they've seemed to have declared my plant pots their hangout.

He told me that I have nothing to worry about from them, they won't harm the veggies. *Whew*! He then gave me advice on insecticide and plant food. When I told him of this challenge, his eyes lit up. Apparently, on the farm in Minnesota where he grew up his father (my Great Grandfather) had had a huge smokehouse the size of my living room where he would smoke whole pigs for days. He asked me about the brine and asked how I'm going to go about smoking the pork belly.

Don't worry, I said. I have ideas. ;-)

As for the vegetation progress? Well, they're not dead yet, and do not display any immediate signs of death.

For me, this is HUGE progress. Go me! *pats self on back*

More updates to come. :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Laura Red, Laura Red, How does your garden grow?...No, really...how?

Today, I decided to get moving on my entry into Michael Ruhlman's BLT-from-scratch challenge, bite the bullet, and jump headfirst into the ONE aspect of the competition I know nothing about - growing my own produce.

Now, I'm not sure where my black thumb came from. My mother always did well with her plants. My Grandfather? The greenest thumb you've ever seen. At almost 90 years old, he still grows tomatoes the size of your head - and they taste better than any tomato you'd pluck off the shelves of Giant Eagle. For the longest time, his knack of cultivating vegetables was as impressive as it was diverse. Carrots, celery, rutabega, cucumbers, pumkpins, squash, grapes, apples and many others I can't even recall. These were all grown on his 5 acres in the rural-ish town of Brecksville, Ohio. As he got older, however, all that labor got to be a bit much for him, so he satisfies his thirst for growing with a consolidated garden closer to his front door.

Unfortunately for me, this green thumb goodness must have skipped my generation. I once was given a healthy, beautiful rosemary plant from a co-worker with a fairly green thumb herself. IT was dead in 2 weeks. I watered it. I put it right by the window where the sun could shine on it for hours. I even looped one of my Beethoven CD's while I was still at work because I had heard classical music was good for plants (I don't know where I hear these things, but they do stick in my head).

I guess it preferred Mozart.

So today, I'm standing clueless in the gardening department of Home Depot holding soggy basil and tomato plants while balancing a phone conversation with my mother on my shoulder.

"What do I get? What do I do?" I pleaded with her.

She told me to come over with the plants and she'd help me learn. She taught me the wonders of potting soil and gave me a couple planters for my basil, tomato, and romaine lettuce, which per her instructions I placed in respective sunlit spots in front of my apartment's front porch. I love my mom. She's the greatest. :-)

Here goes nothing!