Last week I attended a workshop put on by the Los Angeles Public Library in conjunction with their To Live and Dine in LA exhibit. The Container Gardening Workshop was an awesome little one hour class, taught by librarian and master gardener Annie Cipolla.
When we moved to our new digs in May, I had to leave behind my old garden except for what I could pot up. We moved to the new house because at almost half an acre, we are going to have a lot of room for our new garden and chickens. But the yard, well, it sucks right now. No, like, really sucks. Who knows how many years the soil’s been neglected of water and nutrients. I’ve been trying to nurture the existing fruit trees, but until we can really get in and enhance the soil back there, container gardening will have to do.
Photo of my yard in dire straights… I’d post more but it’s sorta depressing and pathetic…
Annie talked about composting, worm poop and pee, resources, and brought in some itsy-bitsy seedlings to share with everyone. She talked about seed germinating with a paper towel, (easy to follow video here) which would also be a great way to see what seeds are viable if you have some older ones.
Some of Annie’s favorite resource books:
Anyhow, she had asked us to all come with an empty egg container and we left with a bunch of little seedlings to nurture and replant when they get bigger. I have a terrific window box in my kitchen that I put my egg carton on and in one week, they have all really started to grow – trust me when I say these guys were puny!
It just got me thinking how easy this way of starting seeds is and I wanted to share it with you. No need to buy fancy seed starter kits and your kids would [hopefully] love to help.
I also wrote on the lid what everything was, which will help me when I transplant them. I’m growing Alpine strawberries, Persian cucumbers, dill, cilantro, snow peas, and a variety of cherry tomatoes: sungold, sweet gold, and super sweet 100’s.
Annie also gave us some cuttings of basil and lemon verbena. She mentioned that many plant varieties can be propagated from cuttings, which I’m sure most of us know but can’t always be bothered with. Although I have a healthy basil plant on my window sill, I took a cutting anyway to see how long it would take to root so I can add it into the pot with the others. A never ending supply of basil with just a few snips? Sign me up!
As for the lemon verbena, she wasn’t as sure if it would root so I’m giving it a shot. I’ve always wanted lemon verbena around my home, if just for the smell alone!!! But I also like making Lemon Verbena Granita so my fingers are crossed that it will start rooting. I got a little nervous yesterday when I realized the leaves were browning… but then I noticed new growth!!! Yeah!!!
If you really get into germinating your own seeds for your garden, you might want to check out the Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA). There are two branches in LA and membership is only $10 a year! They have workshops as well, but it truly is a seed library, where you ‘borrow’ seeds and once you harvest your produce, you ‘return’ seeds to the library! This is a great way to learn and be part of a gardening community that wants to ensure we have a non-GMO resource of seeds available to us locally. If you aren’t in LA, there still might be a seed depository in your town.
Anyhow, check out the library series currently taking place throughout greater LA. You can get to their calendar of events by clicking on the ‘What’s On?‘ tab, then look for the ‘calendar’ tab on the left. Yesterday I took a workshop at the Panorama City Library on How to Take Care of Fruit Trees During a Drought, given by the fine people at Food Forward.
Well, this post was supposed to be about my egg container seedlings but I went off on multiple tangents, didn’t I? Egg containers for seedlings! Easy peasy!