. . .with silver bells, and cockle shells. . .And pretty maids all in a row.
In Building Blocks of Intent (Pt. 1), we looked at the importance of developing or refining different skills in leading a life of intent. I refer to them as “life skills”— those directly related to meeting basic human needs, such as
- food and nourishment
- maintenance of basic health and well-being
You’re probably wondering “January! Why would anyone take a gardening class then?? What kind of gardening could you possibly do in the dead of winter especially with all that snow we got…???” You are not alone! Everyone I told about the class asked these same questions. However, there’s quite a bit that goes into achieving the beautiful (or edible) end result that most people associate with gardening, and we spent the time covering fundamental theories and concepts such as
- the basic parts of a plant how they function
- soil health & structure
- organic gardening techniques
- pest control
- basic garden tools
- plant selection and care
- propagation and pruning
- general site considerations when planning your garden
Also, you may not realize it, but there's a life cycle to gardening, so there's always something to be done year round. In fact, our final course assignment was to take what we learned and create a simple plan covering a year of maintenance and planning for the garden of our choice (you can see my final report here). The tail end of winter is a key time for indoor seed starting, so your plants will be ready to go into the ground come spring. Then of course, there’s the main growing season from spring, through the summer, and depending on what you’re growing, even into the fall. In the late fall it’s time to begin preparing your garden for winter…clearing out dead growth, sprucing up the beds and so on. Something else you may not know is that there are things you can plant in the late fall at the end of the season, also known as “cover crops” or “green manure” (e.g. ryegrass, winter rye, clovers, oats, buckwheat, etc), which help protect and prepare the soil for spring when the cycle begins anew! This provides ground cover that helps prevent soil erosion, replaces nutrients depleted during the growing season (e.g. nitrogen), and helps with weed suppression as well as pest control.
Unlike most of my classmates, I don’t currently have access to any outdoor gardening space (not even a terrace!), so I will be adapting what I learned for an indoor garden. Another challenge for me is that I live in a small apartment with limited space.
But, be those things as they may, I am starting with the picture on the left and intend to move towards the picture on the right!
And, after listening to a podcast by Erika Harris of Empathic Writer, during which she talked about her grandfather and his talent for turning his back yard into paradise (go to Episode 001: Say the Things You Want to Hear in the World and jump to the 00:03:09 to 00:03:30 mark), I was further inspired to create my own Indoor Edible Garden Paradise.
As described in my garden maintenance plan, my goals are modest. I plan to get started with some herbs and other edibles (cilantro, scallions and rainbow chard) suited to my particular site constraints. I have some seeds I purchased from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. I originally bought them because the outer packets were so beautiful, never thinking to actually plant them, but now I figure “Why not!”
> 5 seed packets – parsley, cilantro, chives, basil and oregano
> 3 containers and a watering tray
> growing pellets
So, we’ll see how it goes and which approach works for me. I hope you’ll join me on this journey, and be inspired to try it yourself! If I can do it, I’m sure you can too!
Changing Your Intent
Get Skilled: What You Can Do Now!
- Pick a new life skill that you would like to learn whether it’s gardening, sewing, cooking, first aid, fishing, or whatever tickles your fancy. Your local weekly paper is an excellent resource for discovering workshops and classes that might be going on in your community.
- Tell us about what you've decided here or start a discussion on the With Intent Facebook or Google+ page.