01 July 2008

The bounty of summer crops

Now that summer is permanently in place for the next couple of months, my fruit and vegetable garden couldn't be happier. Of course, the 95 degree weather for the past couple of days has forced me to consider a cheap and eco-friendly way to shield my lettuce and tomato plants from the intensity of the sun, but I see some clear plastic bags and reusable materials from my fountain of junk (ie., the basement) coming to the rescue while it's still mostly overcast today. I know a lot of people go out and buy shade props, but I think this might be a useful way to get rid of some of my junk...until fall.

I've started a system for crops that has proven quite effective, but unfortunately takes up an extraordinary amount of time at staggered intervals. With a mixture of peat moss, Miracle Gro timed release fertilizer soil and vermiculite, I'm starting seedlings in my old egg crates and sour cream containers. I have learned since the last time I planted everything all at once, I cannot use up three pounds of snap peas. I just can't. I eat snap peas like many people eat potato chips, and anyone unlucky enough to sit next to me in a graduate seminar knows that I will happily munch on them until the bag runs empty. But during the summer, when the heat forces me to put the bag away and lament the lack of air conditioning in my life instead of stuffing my face, I needed a more reasonable system.

The photo above is of an old concrete sink (I imagine from a basement laundry area) that my landlord had turned into a cute little greenhouse for the side garden. It's easy really--just plant your seedlings, water, cover the greenhouse with the old recycled window frame and wait for the bounty to emerge. Once I transplant the lettuce (see above) I grew this past week, I imagine I can probably knock on some doors and share the wealth. Since the greenhouse is the perfect climate for growing seedlings, I've begun staggering their germination at two week intervals (good sense for the growing food price climate of the supermarket and even better for my gardening obsession).

And if you get the chance and you're in Pullman, stop by Scotty and Suzanne's wonderful Living in the Garden nursery, and you might just get to see some of their awesome recycled art.


Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

OMG, I love snap peas too...well only the ones from the farmer's market taste good raw. I also love fresh peas and have eaten them until my stomach hurt.

Dr. Food said...

I wish I hadn't discovered my obsession with snap peas...I know it's better than being obsessed with Big Macs, but now I'm losing sleep over my snap pea plants.