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Sunday, 3 June 2007

Green Eye for the IT Guy

I do feel sometimes like I'm in the middle of a lifestyle makeover show. But this one's self-imposed and doesn't have a lot in the way of active input from experienced people who know what they're doing.

Now's not the time to be showing off my compost. There's certainly something very biologically active going on in the back corner of the yard and a large pile of stuff has shrunk down to almost a third its original size. But when I turned it all over the other day I found a seething mass of large, fat maggot-like things right at the bottom... no idea what they actually were but I took encouragement from the fact that there was life there and the lowest layers of the pile had been turned into a dark, moist substance that looked not unlike what I imagine compost should be. That experiment is ongoing.

But I do want to show off an obvious success. I knew when I started trying to grow stuff that I was going to do a very bad job at first. To avoid the disappointment of failure which results from taking on a challenge that's too big for me, I made sure to include something which had a good chance of working: tomatoes.

Yes I bought a plastic pot - about $20 from one of those ubermarket hardware chains - but I figure it's an acceptable use of resources since I don't have an established garden to work in, it's water-efficient and it's going to be usable and productive for quite a long time. I filled it with soil taken from the back yard where a previous owner had a vege patch.

Here's a pic of the pot, the roughly 8 week old plants, and my two older kids (5 and almost 3 years old, respectively).

One of the people at the sustainability fair yesterday commented that tomatoes are easier to grow than weeds. That may be true, but seeing as none of the strawberry seeds I planted even bothered to germinate, I'm really glad of it.


Grant said...

Hi Terry.

Just wanted to say well done! I'm much the same as you - hardly a green pigment in my thumb and I'm trying to grow herbs and vegies on our small apartment balcony.

I remember our excitement at seeing our snow-peas and lettuces take off, so I think I know what you're feeling :)

Your experience with tomatoes gives me hope - we've got some seeds that I'm hoping to try out in spring. Out of interest, did you grow from seedlings or seeds? When did you plant? How long till they got to the point they are in the photo?

Grant said...

Ignore my question about how long they'd grown - stoopid me missed the "8 weeks" on the first read of your post.

TB said...

Hi Grant,

So yeah - 8 weeks ago means the time of planting was early April. There was no reasoning behind that timing other than I wanted to grow something :-)

I started with seeds. Actually this was a packet of seeds I'd bought a couple of years ago but never opened. They were past their printed expiry date. But as an experiment it was worth a try.

Four seeds, one in each corner of that pot. Three of them germinated. Two of those have kept pace with each other (today they're up level with the top ring on the post) while the other has been something of a runt.

All three of them have flowered though... maybe some chance of fruit in the next month or two.

Fingers crossed.