food baby watch 2009

Last year we started our indoor shelf garden, with some success. We had probably 30 or 40 cherry tomatoes, a hot pepper, and even a handful of basil and rosemary before they were totally ravaged by little black flies.

We’re pretty much starting over this year, so I’d like to introduce you to the new food babies. All the little plants we bought were organic and came in containers you just stick in dirt and they disappear. I always feel bad throwing away those little plastic pieces of crap that plants come in—they’re useless for anything else—although I think they were 5s and Portland now recycles that. Anyway, this is still better.

oregano

This is spicy oregano. He grows super fast; you notice the growth between morning and night. We’ve eaten a bunch of it already and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

habnero

We started this habanero plant from seed. These are only about 2 inches tall right now, but they’re strong so I have high hopes for them. We’ve already weeded out a couple of the whimpier plants.

tomato n strawberry

On the left is a June-bearing strawberry plant. I’ve never grown strawberries before so I don’t know what to expect. But the plant was $1.98 and organic so I figured it’s worth a shot. New leaves keep shooting out of the ground every week, so we’ll see what happens come June. On the right is a couple of tomato plants. We picked these up at the farmers market: Isis Candy cherry tomatoes, which appear on the little info stick as marbled orange and red, and Carbon fullsize tomatoes, which should get to be a deep purple. I love having a tomato plant in the house—you go anywhere near it and you get hit with the waft of tomato. Mmmmmm.

basil

We just picked up this guy yesterday. He’s not organic, but he’ll be treated as such from here on out. We were at Trader Joe’s and I had grabbed one of those clamshell packages of basil (trucked up from Mexico, with a 2-day use-it-or-lose-it window) for $2.50. A little later I saw a guy carrying one of these plants so we hightailed it to the plant section and found this for $2.99. Yeah, there’s probably more edible leaf on this than in those packages. And I can use it tomorrow or next week. And it’ll make more.

Again, there’s no guarantee a little garden like this will pay for itself, but the shelf will always be a shelf, the pots can be reused every year, and we get to see and smell vegetables from our garden in our living room in our third-floor apartment. So there.

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