Monday, June 1, 2009

Urban Homestead Project Update

The tomato and herbs in their planters are LOVING the weather we've had this month. I'm not kidding when I say that I think each of the plants have grown 6" to 1' since we've finally been having some nice weather. I actually had to pare back the basil, chives, mint, and dill this past weekend because they were starting to get overgrown. I made some homemade pesto with the basil, added some mint to the pitcher of tea in the fridge, and added some chopped dill and chives to the tuna salad we ate this weekend. Fresh herbs really do make all the difference.

In other news, an unexpected thing happened with the worm bin. Those little guys are working so hard and going through so many scraps. I tossed in some squash pulp and seeds a while back and forgot entirely about them. Two weeks later I notice some little green shoots poking their way up through the newsprint. Amazingly, the squash seeds sprouted (which probably means the compost I'm seeing form under the top layer of bedding is pretty darn healthy)! I carefully pulled the baby plants out, repotted them, and set them outside to harden a bit in a part sun/part shade spot. They have taken off, and are now probably about 8 inches long, and starting to bend over. It's time to replant them in the ground.

I had planned on only doing a container garden on the porch this year, but in light of "The Butternut Incident" I'm going to also have a small plot in the yard for some simple vining plants. I bought some watermelon and canteloupe seeds about a month ago. I had just gone through a carton of local eggs that had really tough shells, and had a great idea (though I'm sure that I am by no means the first to try this): break the tops off the eggs carefully enough, and you've got perfectly sized, biodegradable, all natural seed starters that add nutrients to the soil around your plants. Basically I broke the eggs near the pointy end, approximately 1/3 of the way from the top, rinsed the shells, put them back in the egg carton (hole up), and filled them with soil and a few seeds. Once they've sprouted big enough, I'll probably squeeze the shells just slightly to crack them as I'm getting ready to place the seedlings in the ground, just to keep them from getting too root-bound as they grow.

So this weekend is going to be spent finding a great, sunny spot in the yard; digging, digging, and more digging, and planting. Here's to hoping for some awesome melons and squash in a few weeks!!

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