So, it's time for the April wrap-up! If you remember, we started a garden in our back yard. As you might imagine, it's hard to show much progress in just a month, but I do have some! I was a little apprehensive about starting a garden - I've lived in apartments until now and when I was a kid, I remember a 1x3 foot patch that had some herbs and - on occasion - cherry tomatoes.
So, with a 3x5 raised bed and some pots, we started with lettuce, cilantro and tomatoes. This:
After the Mother Earth article came out, we added onions, beans, cabbage, chard, squash, cucumbers, peppers and thyme in potting soil beds. Sadly, one cucumber plant and a red pepper plant have not fared well (read - they died). But we bought one more of each, plus a cinnamon basil plant (amazing smell!). After being gone for a week the changes were so much more obvious: big green lettuce leaves, and the bean sprouts and onion greens have poked through the earth. It's exciting!
Last weekend, we did an early harvest (read - we were impatient) and had a salad with some veggies from our garden - an onion, cilantro and lettuce:
And the final dinner with sauteed mushrooms, cashews and tempeh:
So, the planting was a lot of work and occasionally questions arose (how deep to dig, how much fertilizer), but I'm much more confused by the whole maintenance and harvesting thing. I'm really not sure of the best way to harvest the lettuce (leaf lettuce) -- do we cut the entire thing or leaf by leaf? I've read both ways and we cut off an entire bunch and I'm a little nervous that we've killed it. Also, some squirrels have been burying peanuts in our beds so some things look like they may need a little bit of re-seating.
And a couple quick updates on our other changes:
January - bring our own water and only buy out when we bring travel mugs. This has really become so easy. Even when I go to knitting at the bookstore on Monday nights, I bring my travel mug and if I forget, no drinks! Traveling is still the hardest time, what with the need to minimize what you drag along or not having clean mugs available.
February - only use recyclable grocery bags. This one has grown so much. Instead of just shopping bags, we added produce bags including these bags that I bought from Gypsy Forest:
I absolutely love them! We've put grains, granola, fruits and veggies in them with no problem and the vintage fabrics are awesome. We still need a few more bags and some storage solutions for wiltables (because you all know what I mean, even if it isn't a word). But then again, if the garden works out, we can just pick as we need it and not store stuff at all!
March - the clean out. Everything is done!!
I lie. Everything is exactly as I left it in early April, with perhaps a little more organization of the boxes in the office. Sigh. Perhaps phase II should be it's own month? No matter, we are being more mindful of what we buy and I switched a lot of bills to paperless billing so at least we aren't adding to the mess at the same rate. I also try to file/shred/toss the mail everyday when it comes in. Because, apparently, we paid to move old store ads... how does that happen?
Well, the official 1 Small Change challenge drew to a close on Earth Day (sniff, sniff), but we've had so much fun that I think we'll keep going. It really isn't that hard! Some have just become second nature (only buying drinks out with a travel mug), while others became easier with a little upfront work (cloth bags). And there have been other changes that weren't official - unplugging appliances, reducing water use, turning the heat off early, and last week we sold the dryer and have committed to using lines strung up between trees. The dryer didn't work in the house so we haven't been using it anyway, but we're not going to look for a replacement.
It makes me happy to think of the good changes we have made and it has also made me so much more mindful of the weight of our steps on this spinning orb.