Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Null Space Cowboy Microgardens!

Null space - those unused areas in our new house - presents a fun challenge. Since we plan to be here 40 years or more, it makes sense to convert every aspect of the place into long-term value. Many such conversions require saving in advance for a few years, since we don't want to go deeper into debt; for example, our green roof, grey water, and electricity semi-independence initiative all require significant up-front costs. We'll get to them but not today.
Right now, however, we can put those null spaces to work. Making any nondestructive use out of something that currently has no use is a good thing, and we can start with uses that have minimal front-end expenses!
Let Us Indoors!
Today I started an experiment with growing lettuce indoors. I took few rectangular clay pots in which the last lettuces were stubbornly holding on against the onset of winter - not dying but not growing either. I put them near a window, where there is no foot traffic except the cats (who ignore the lettuce outdoors; let's find out if they do the same indoors.) The lettuces (and their future neighbors mint) will not get a huge amount of light, but they will get some from our normal, everyday use. Also they will be at room temperature without any extra effort on our part. I am curious to see whether over the next five months they will grow appreciably, using light and heat that otherwise would have gone to waste.
I added a few seeds in the pots that had room. Let's see if they sprout - there's no hurry - if they take until Valentine's day that'll be fine. Imagine the joy of a fresh, homegrown salad at the end of winter!
I took a few precautions. First was careful inspection to remove any pests. I'm not really squeamish, and in the normal course of events, a few bugs get indoors on our shoes and whatnot, but I felt obliged to examine the pots carefully and flick outside a tiny native slug who probably wouldn't have enjoyed being indoors anyway. I also set the pots on a bit of scrap cardboard to protect the floor; I don't think the pots will leak but you never can tell. Finally, I ... wait a minute ... the "Writer's Rule of Three" urges me to come up with a third thing in the series, but really, there isn't any. There's just pots on the floor, out of the way; it's not that complicated!
Visually, these pots are just as attractive as an indoor cactus - more, really, depending on your attitude toward barbed exotics.
I was inspired to try this in part by this week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge:

This week, plant something edible indoors (in your homes, offices, schools, etc.). Some ideas are lettuce, herbs, spinach, kale, and even tomatoes.
Microgardening - raising food crops in null spaces - may never make anyone wealthy but it promises to be cheap fun and extremely thrifty! Seeds, dirt and pots are all very cheap, and the space is just going to waste, so why not give it a try? 


mrs green @ said...

I'm totally inspired- thank you for coming up with this challenge for ctww. I have to admit, I'm seeing big failures on hand, but the thought of being able to grow all year round excites me. I'll be posting up on Monday and sharing updates throughout the rest of autumn and winter :)

newmami_rgv said...

Yes... awesome challenge. I need more green in our home. We planted cilantro and since we're hispanic we will definatley be using it weekly. I love your bench-style planter. Hopefully next week we will have pictures to share as well.