One month ago I began my mini urban homesteading journey. I bought a shelf from Ikea and LED light strips from Amazon, ordered some seeds online, then got to work. I spray painted my shelf gold and put some pink marble contact paper on the shelves, The backdrop and ivy vines that I purchased didn't stay up for long; they didn't stay attached to the basement walls or ceiling for any amount of time despite using potentially every type of sticky material available. I think the house is due for an upgrade soon.
The seeds I planted were poppies, pansies, ospeospermum, cilantro and mint. About a week later, I added bell peppers and prickly pear! I'm treating this as a trial-run; if anything actually grows I'll be happy, but I won't be too disappointed if I don't have any luck this time around. It's just a little winter hobby; probably by next summer I'll move it all outside or try other plants.
Here are my poppies and pansies. I picked these plants as a way to remember my childhood; before my grandmother died when I was 5, she had a beautiful flower garden, and pansies were one of her favourites. They haven't really made much progress in a month; just a few sprouts have come through. Hopefully by next update I'll have a few more plants pop through the soil!
The four pots in the middle are cilantro, which are probably doing the best out of all of my plants.
I use cilantro a fair bit, in soups, kofta meatballs or in rice when I make stuffed chicken, so I have big plans for them once they're grown!
This is the indoor plant that I have the most faith in at the moment; it's showing some real progress. On the left is my red pepper and prickly pears, but there are no signs of life yet for them. On the right side is mint, and they're just starting to poke through.
Surprise! I actually put in another shelf and lights since starting the first one. I got both the shelf and the LED light from Home Depot, which was a little more expensive but definitely more convenient that I could pick them up and get straight to work right away. It took me about an hour to get the shelf set up with minimal profanity/injury, so if I can do it, you definitely can!
These will be dedicated to more vegetables and rare flowers. So far I have Swiss Chard x2, Green onions x2 (I'm starting them from leftovers, not from seeds), Kousa and Okra. These are all from a local company called Veseys, and took less than a week to arrive.
Outside I have russet potatoes - look at how they've grown since mid-September! The leaves are pretty well intact, I haven't had many bugs or small children destroy them yet. They're pretty low maintenance which is perfect for me. Once I harvest them I'll probably make French fries or soup; I'll definitely write a blog post about cooking with my own ingredients in the future.
I'm still waiting on my rare seed order; it's coming from rarexoticseeds in Montreal. I'm really feeling adventurous about it! There's such a beautiful selection of plants on that website, it was difficult to narrow it down to a few. Part of my struggle as well was choosing plants that are childproof; my kids don't typically go into the basement but it's more of a "just in case" scenario. I saw some gorgeous desert flowers, but there was a warning that their sap is poisonous. Maybe in a few years time when my children are past the age of the "What's this-I want to touch it" phase I can grow some, along with carnivorous plants!
Are there any tips you might offer to someone just starting out? What did your beginner plant growing adventure look like? Please share your comments.