Sunday, March 13, 2011

A time to sow.

I have been spending this morning doing one of the best things ever.  Well, actually I started my morning early by taking Sadie on a frosty walk down to NWC to check on the kiln, and I locked myself out of the studio. Not the best, but at least I didn't lock myself out of there while Sadie was still inside.  That would have been really NOT the best.  But you know what is the best? This:

Planning the summer planting.  Pouring through seed catalogs with a nice latte and a napping little.  Ahhh, what a simple pleasure.  Having a garden has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  In fact, some of my happiest childhood memories are of our garden and greenhouse and my folks teaching me how to plant and take care of plants.  For me, there are few things as satisfying as planting a seed and watching it turn into what its meant to become--whether it be a beautiful flower to delight the senses, or a delicious vegetable to tantalize the palate.  We could learn a lot from plants--they keep it simple in their unwavering quest to grow up towards the light whilst simultaneously putting a root down.  They don't try to be something they aren't. A carrot is a carrot. A squash is a squash.  Unless you are a GMO, in which case you can be like a dolphin and a kiwi at the same time, but that's just wrong on a number of levels.

And yeah, I like to play in the mud--so me and the gardening, we get along just fine.

Gardening in Nome can be a bit of a challenge, especially where I live (about 20 feet away from the sea) because it is cold, windy and salty.  When I first moved here I thought gardening would be a total bust, but after taking the awesome subarctic gardening class offered at NWC, I discovered that people grow all kinds of stuff here.  In spite of the cold, we have the super long days thing going for us.  I have a cute little greenhouse in the yard that really does pretty well for itself in lettuce, chinese cabbages, kale, zuchini, snap peas and more. Also, much to Loren's chagrin our living room/dining room windows become  a jungle home to all my hothouse stuff--tomatoes, peppers, and all the delicate herbs that don't favor the greenhouse.  This year I have a new neighbor who is into gardening, so we will be collaborating.  I think I am going to make some box gardens in the yard with insulation under the soil and little flip-open tops that give them a greenhouse-like advantage while being cheap and quick to build. If you cant tell already by my geeking out on all this planting stuff...I get pretty excited about vegetables!

Another reason I am stoked about gardening this year is that I want Sadie to grow up in an environment where stewardship of the earth and healthy eating habits are practiced.  We are so lucky that all winter we can get gorgeous, fresh, organic produce from our CSA Full Circle Farms. I have been able to make all of Sadie's baby food home-made, delicious and organic--and lately she has even been helping me unpack the box:
This girl loves her some fresh produce!  And who doesn't appreciate a beautiful, shiny apple?  I guess its that little bit of Eve in all of us.  Anyway, for all my green-thumbed blog-readers out there... happy spring garden planning (or planting if your yard isn't still buried under 4 feet of snow)!


  1. a) We have been planning our first attempt at a garden this summer, reading up all that we can. We are still buried under snow so it will be awhile, but I'm excited.
    b) Audrey and I were at the grocery store the other day and she didn't want to be in the cart so I let her walk along the cart as long as she was holding on. She did awesome until she saw the apples. She took one off the display and took a big ol' bite out of one. We have trained her well though, she did grab an organic one :)

  2. haha! That's awesome! I love it that kids love apples so much. One time we had a bunch of people over and there was a big bowl of apples on the table and one of the kids took a little nibble out of every single apple. It was pretty funny.
    I bet you guys will be able to grow a great garden there! What are you going to plant?

  3. We are going to get some raspberry bushes from Andrew's parents, hopefully some herbs, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, and a pumpkin. Any other suggestions? Do you guys have a ton of visitors for Iditarod this week?

  4. I am so jealous of your soon-to-be garden! I wish we could have some sort of outdoor space in our apartment, but not yet. We want to move into a house next year when our lease is up, so we'll see how that works out. When I'm in Ketchikan for five months, I plan on subscribing to Full Circle Farms!

  5. How pleasing it is to see this love of soil and miracle of seed passed on to the next---and the next generation! Gardening offers limitless opportunities to explore and learn and thrive. And let's not forget the invaluable exercise in delayed gratification!

  6. Erin- Do you like summer squash? I bet you could get those to grow really well. I also like to grow greens for the salad. And broccoli. So jealous of you growing a pumpkin. My whole life I have been trying to get a pumpkin to grow in Alaska. I am not giving up yet. I know people grow them in the Matsu. Probably not going to use up 1/2 my workable greenhouse space to grow one this year though. No iditavisitors for us till next week. whew!

    Brittany- I totally hear ya! I have lived in a couple of spots where a garden just didn't pan out. But if you guys get a little house in portland, oh my gosh! You will be able to grow such a lovely garden. Everything, EVERYTHING grows there. That's exciting you are going to be in K-Town for 5 months! I am going to be through in late July to visit my mama and sis... maybe we'll see you? I have been enjoying reading about your soap making adventures:)

    Mom--Thanks for teaching me to love plants. You were and still are the most influential teacher in my life. And yes, even us impatients need some exercises in delayed gratification. Hence the pottery, and the gardening...and the childraising:)

  7. love this post! my germination station is up and in full swing right now. the pic of sadie unpacking that box is so precious. my biggest fear is blaine will grow up hating the garden since it will be shoved down this throat so much since i'm pretty much in it 40 hrs a week all summer long. ;) this summer i plan on putting a little sandbox beside the garden to keep him occupied, but not sure how that will work out! as long as he doesnt pick the "baby pumpkins" around july 4th. :) lol.

  8. Hi, Tara. I have a "little," myself. Do you mind sharing tips or recipes or general how-to's regarding home-made baby foods?

  9. Hi Anonymous. Sure... I might do a post on that in a couple of days:)

    basebell--I am so jealous of all your amazing pumpkin growing skillz! I would totally be in my garden 40 hours a week if I could make enough of a garden to spend the time in lol! I bet Blaine will grow up to love plants. The sandbox is a great idea. I think Sadie would like that too. I just hope she grows out of the "shoving everything in her mouth" phase by summer, or trips to the beach are going to be a bit gritty.