“While modern capitalism constantly develops new needs in order to increase consumption, people’s dissatisfaction remains the same as ever. Their lives no longer have any meaning beyond a rush to consume, and this consumption is used to justify the increasingly radical frustration of any creative activity or genuine human initiative — to the point that people no longer even see this lack of meaning as important.” - Pierre Canjuers, Socialisme ou Barbarie #27

Monday, 20 March 2017

Equinom?

The Equinox is here, and that feels like the right time to review the progress of my 'learning by doing' indoor gardening project.



January: first kale shoots
I started in January as I meant to go on, finding out what sorts of things could stand to be sown indoors so soon after the winter solstice.  I settled on celery and kale.  Success has been limited.  Kale has been easy enough to germinate, but getting it to survive repotting has been a struggle.  (One problem is that kittens keep eating it, more on which presently!).  It's germinated slightly better in soil with a pH I managed to lower a little bit by mixing compost and bought 'potting soil' than it did with just my unadulterated compost, but only marginally so.  Thinning out the shoots a little has helped, but it's slow going.  Perhaps this is just the nature of kale.

Celery, sown Jan 17, pictured March 17
Celery has germinated a little better in the compost (of around pH 7) but again, it's slow going.  There haven't been too many sunny days yet, and the average daily temperature hasn't risen much above 15 degrees, so perhaps I'm just being impatient.  Good gardeners are patient.  Nature is patient.  I am not.  Anyway, the celery shoots are starting to show some signs of improvement, so maybe with spring on the horizon I'll get a plant or two to establish itself.

It's peas that have shown the most promise.  Now the kittens have discovered tinned food, and won't really settle for the cheaper, poxy dried stuff anymore I find myself with a steady stream of tins (they can get through one a day between the two of them).  Hammer a few holes in the bottom for drainage, and you've got yourself a supply of pea pots.  Pleasingly, the peas have taken well to any compost or soil I've put them in, and seem to germinate happily in very little direct sunlight.  So I'm calling that a win: every time the cats have eaten their way through a tin of food, another few peas can be sown.  Cycle of life I suppose.

Peas.
My most satisfying discovery, that emerged from my celebrations of the recuperative power of spring onions, though, has been with cabbages.  After about a month in water, plant the ends back into your soil, and you will be rewarded with an abundance of edible leaves.  This I promise you.  Throwing a couple of leaves in each time I make a soup feels as good as it tastes.

Cabbage/phoenix
"A house is a machine for living in" popped into my head as I was typing just now.  This is my fantasy: a house full of edible plants, so many that you'd never have to shop for food again.  Such a thing is clearly possible - but when and how could such a thing be available to the masses?  How much can you really grow in a bog-standard one bedroom flat.  Enough to feed yourself one week a year?  Even that feels optimistic, but such is the nature of fantasy.  Time to get working on the potatoes.