Sunday, January 31, 2010

We Have More Sprouts!

See? I told you this blog was going to be exciting.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

We Have Sprouts!

My love just burst into the room, hands held triumphantly in the air, exclaiming: " We have sprouts!".

And indeed we do. Check out that Fava bean sprout!

Also check out our totally sweet seed map. That is fine handmade artistry right there.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting Started

Welcome to the Harber Horticultural Organic Project! H2O ... get it? (we're so clever) It's our very own adventure in sustainable living here in Tacoma, WA.

A few months ago we made a commitment to try to make 80% of our consumption fresh, local, organic, sustainable, and seasonal. We made this decision immediately after watching What Would Jesus Buy?, a documentary about an interesting guy named Reverend Billy of the Church of Life After Shopping. It is available on Netflix and is equal parts hilarious, absurd, disturbing, and entertaining if you're interested.

Our definition of "local" is Washington and Oregon mostly, and BC and California when necessary. Our main goal is to live in harmony with nature, as much as is possible in this modern world. Other goals are to be healthy, support our local economy, and to do our very small part to reduce dependence on foreign oil. So, there are no hard-fast rules for consumption. It isn't simply a local thing, or simply an organic thing, or simply a sustainable thing. It's a combination of goals and means, and each purchase is a negotiation towards achieving our desired ends. For example, we may find ourselves choosing between organic bread from Oregon and conventional bread from Washington. Obviously organic is good for us and good for the environment, but the Washington bread supports our more local economy, provides jobs in our state, and had a shorter distance to travel. So, we weigh these different things and make a decision. On two different weeks we may make two different decisions. It honestly depends on which one of us is shopping, our mood, the price, etc. Mostly, we're trying to do the opposite of blindly consume. As with all things in life, the simple act of practicing awareness makes all the difference.

One of the great things about living in the Pacific Northwest is that this has been surprisingly easy. Between Washington and Oregon alone we have all of our dairy and most of our grains covered. In the summer, vegetables are no problem, thanks to the plethora of farmer's markets in Tacoma. In the winter though, our choice for fresh veg is very often limited to California.

So, this was a very long way of getting around to the point of this blog, which is the garden we've decided to grow this year! You can't get much fresher, local-er, organic-er, sustainable-er, or seasonal-er than your own backyard. The plan is to eat out of it all summer while preserving the excess veggies for use all winter.

Armed with Mel Bartholomew's All New Square Foot Gardening book, a home canning kit, $80 worth of seeds, and my love's plucky determination, we've begun. Today we started the seeds for all of the veggies that require 8 to 10 weeks of indoor growing before being transplanted outside. We started bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, habanero peppers, cayenne peppers, poblano peppers, serrano peppers, beefsteak tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, eggplant, fava beans, cranberry beans, soy beans, parsnips, red onions, walla walla onions, leeks, tomatillos and celery.

Think we'll have enough peppers?

Stay tuned for accounts of our exciting, and not-so-exciting, foray into growing food.