Saturday, January 21, 2012


This might be my best January ever!  I have alluded to it before, but it just keeps coming back to me.  Typically, when January comes, I am struggling with depression.  It's perfectly understandable why this is.  The holidays and all of their joys and stresses are over.  Where I live there is generally no snow, just lots of gray drippiness.  There are always so many projects, but no money or energy to complete them.  So negativity builds upon negativity until I just don't want to do anything any more.

This year is different.  Has the post-holiday void gone away?  No. Is there lots of beautiful snow?  No. Is it gray and drippy?  Yes.  Do we have tons of money to work on our place?  No.  So why am I not depressed?  What do I have to live for?  


My little greenhouse room is full of baby plants!  When the guys first got this room built I was excited to have a place to put my many houseplants where they could get some good light and where they wouldn't clog up my small  living room.  But it didn't take long until I started planting new things.  I started with the cabbage family.  These are hearty plants that can go outside while there is still some chance of frost.  In the past we have tended to plant cabbage family plants closer to March or even April.  The result is that the plants are too weak when the cabbage moths start to emerge and are devastated in short order.  But just look at my little babies!

True leaves emerging from the seed leaves and January hasn't even ended!!!

Then, on the 8th, we planted tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.  This is a little trickier.  Peppers want the soil to be at 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate.  Living in a house that is heated only by a wood-cookstove, it is pretty rare to be able to achieve 70 degrees for any given 24 hour period, let alone the week or two necessary for germination.  But I am delighted to say, that with the extreme measures we have taken, we are achieving good germination rates.  Many tomatoes have fully emerged, and I spend a great deal of my time searching for elbows in the flats.  (Elbows are the bent over stems that come out of the seeds before the leaves are able to straighten out the stem.)

 There is also cilantro popping up,

in addition to the few kale plants I kept inside, 

and the parsley that I brought in from the herb garden a week or so ago.

And of course there are the baby curry trees, looking so beautiful since I transplanted them to individual pots.

All of this greenery and promise has a great deal to do with my positive attitude.

The plants are not the only thing growing around here though.  I am growing too. Before Christmas, we went through an enormous cleaning effort because family was coming.  This was a new thing and we wanted to make a good impression.  We succeeded in getting the house tidier than it might have ever been.  That was amazing but the really amazing thing is that since everyone left we have managed to keep the house in reasonable order!  For many of you this may not seem like a big deal, but for a family who likes to keep everything that they might possibly need to make use of for the next hour, day, week, or year available on the nearest surface, it is a really big deal.  My mom is coming again some time in the next week or so, and I am not stressed out about the house at all!!  An hour or two of tidying up will have the place ship shape!

Now THAT is growth!


Karen from Collins said...

Oooh Barb, I am so loving can I approach this (growing things like you) as an apt. dweller...any advice or recs? :)

Barb Schanel said...

If you have a patio or balcony you can more or less fill it up with container gardens! I had several vegetables growing in pots on the front stoop of my apartment at Mammoth Cave last year.

Starting seeds would be the most complicated aspect, probably requiring grow lights and such, but if you purchase plants it becomes a lot easier. Here are a few links to get you started.

Happy Planting!

Jen awJ said...

Awesomeness! Also, making polenta with roasted veggies and Italian tofurkey sausage tonight makes me think of you. :)

Barb Schanel said...

Maybe I'll have a glass of box wine in your honor! LOL

Karen from Collins said...

Barb, you da bomb, girl - shall edumacate myself and heed you - I do indeed have a patio! And Jen - daaaayum, I want what you're having, YUM - LOL! :)