Friday, April 30, 2010

Interesting Article on Food Aid

I don't actually know where Owen finds them, but here's another article he forwarded to me about how the "Slow, Local, Sustainable" movement is of no help to Africa and other countries with many in extreme poverty.  The article suggests that people are less interested in supporting the modernization of agriculture in these places because of a belief that modern agriculture is so bad (a belief that, I will admit, I share).  The U.S. is shipping food instead of investing in improved farming methods (according to the article), a real shame since this reaches way less people. 

Here's the article:
Attention Whole Foods Shoppers

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WANTED: The Mouse in my Kitchen

We have a mouse in our kitchen, a young, friendly one.  It keeps popping out every few hours or so, at least, causing Mommy to scream and stamp (or scream and run back out of the kitchen) and resulting in contractions.  Mommy is 6 months pregnant.  She does not need the drama of 7 mouse sightings in one day.  She shared this need with her brave and capable husband, saying that she needs the mouse to be gone and to not have to see it or hear it squeaking half dead on a glue trap.  (Her husband laughed and pointed out the irony of her "City Mouse" title to her blog, though he did go buy some traps and set them up in the kitchen.)

Her protective son, Micah, said, "Mommy!  You need to stay out of that kitchen!  You only go in there to clean up or to make breakfast or lunch or supper, but that's it!"

How lovely it would be if that didn't mean most of my day (sigh).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why I am Becoming a Nut Regarding Plastics . . .

Look at this truly terrifying article about fish and the result of chemicals in our water supply (many of them chemicals that we consume or use daily).  I'll give away the punchline: Male fish are starting to produce eggs in many of our rivers because their hormones are out of whack from all the chemicals.  Wow.  No wonder I am becoming a nut.  (Some may be thinking at this point, "Becoming?  Val, really . . .")

 article:  "Toxic Stew"

If you're looking for ways to cut chemicals from every day living, I found this book really helpful.  It was somewhere to start for me, and the woman (while extreme in her lifestyle changes) was somewhat of a girly girl who liked her products but got concerned about what was in them and did research and changed a lot.  Anyway, it was helpful for me.

Happy Earth Day!
Hope the info is helpful.  Just thought I'd pass it on.  :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sad Seedlings

Guess which flat I bought and which one I started from seed myself?

So I tried starting tomatoes and squash and cucumbers from seed.  I guess the window I had them in wasn't bright enough, I should have set up my grow light.  Anyway, I went away for the weekend and didn't leave the window blinds up again and when I returned, all the seedlings had sprouted up spindly and pathetic. 

While I was gone I bought the second flat of plants.  At least those plants look like they have a chance.  Aye me, what a lot of trouble to start from seeds just to create such sad seedlings!

City Kids do Spring

The family went to Morris Arboretum to celebrate Spring, and I thought I'd share a few pictures from our visit.  Micah and Jesse loved the big fields of grass (those poor city kids).

Rocks and water are always a great idea.

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Urban Gardening Planting schedule (zone 5b)

Here in Philadelphia, we're at the beginning of the spring planting.  I put in a few things in March, but hope to get most of the seeds in in April and some of the plants in the ground around Mother's Day.  From what I've heard and read (and contrary to what I thought before), the early bird doesn't always catch the worm.  Even if your plants survive the nights, they might not be as healthy if they are too cold in the beginning.  I think my planting schedule will look something like this:

  • peas, arugula, spring onion, sugar peas, and broccoli rabe (seeded in ground)
  • tomatoes, eggplant, crookneck squash, buttercup squash, zucchini, cucumber, celery (indoors)
April - early May
  • green beans, radishes, lettuce, swiss chard, kale, basil (seeded in ground)
  • tomatoes, eggplant, crookneck squash, buttercup squash, zucchini, cucumber, celery (seedlings put outside) . . . and pepper and herb plants I'll have to buy since I didn't start those from seed
  • (plant raspberries and strawberries if you didn't last year)
  • second planting of green beans
  • carrot, kale, arugula, leeks (seeded in ground, to harvest in fall or spring)

Crafty Trellis for the Garden

This was an idea that I actually took from a kid's magazine.  I usually like to come up with my own ideas (aka: reinvent the wheel).  But this was an idea I've been meaning to try for a long time.  Last time I bought paint I took an obscene amount of paint sticks, so we should have some more of these for some summer climbing vegetables.  I spent a really long time tying it together, then got into a fight with hubby when he picked it up and it fell apart.  The staple gun solution was a great idea of his.  The kids colored the paint sticks with crayons (I didn't want paint in the garden) for the decor.  I think it came out well.  :)

The artists are posed with the trellis below; I'm really excited about the raspberries starting to leaf out behind Jesse's head.  I'm less excited about the lily-thinning I'm going to have to do.