My BFF, Crystal, came over last week to write music with the hubs. (They're in a band together, you see). She brought over some freshly cut arugula from her garden. I was super psyched about her homegrown gift, so psyched, in fact, that I dropped by her apartment a couple of days later to snap some pictures of her garden.
As a city dweller who lives five minutes from me, Crystal does not have a ton of gardening space at her disposal. But behind her apartment, she managed to plant assorted salad greens and cabbage in raised beds last November. Most are already ready for the picking!
Greens are probably the easiest thing you can grow, and I've seen various greens growing in ordinary 12-inch pots or window boxes. So you obviously don't need a lot of space to grow your very own bowl of salad. I'll save my full-on rant on the importance of growing your own food for another post. But the condensed version of said rant is this:
- It saves you money;
- You know exactly what is and what isn't in your food, (i.e. it'll be safe to say your homegrown food won't give you cancer);
- Modern society, and particularly urban dwellers, have become so far removed from the labor of love that is food production, (i.e. cucumbers don't grow on Aisle 7);
- It isn't as hard as you make it out to be; and
- You'll finally know what fruits and vegetables are supposed to taste like, and you'll never go back. Food, Inc. made this point quite nicely: "Although [your average grocery store tomato] looks like a tomato, it is a notional tomato. It is the idea of a tomato."
You can plant greens 2-4 weeks before the last frost, give or take a week. I planted my seeds last Saturday in two window boxes and the equivalent of an 8-inch pot. Here in Houston, our last frost date is February 15, so I planted mine a tad early--I'm the impatient type :). Lucky for me then, my arugula will be ready for harvest in around 30 days. By they way, I checked on my seeds today, and my arugula and spinach started sprouting this morning! *excite*
I'm crossing my fingers as this is my first crack at growing salad greens. Here's hoping I'm capable of growing something leafy, green and edible! Tomorrow will be more firsts for me, too: I'll be starting carrots from seed outdoors, along with bell/jalapeño/habanero peppers indoors. Aren't I the ambitious one?
These are the salad greens seeds I chose:
And last, but certainly not least, my husband and I made pizza from scratch using the arugula Crystal gave us. The arugula was spicier and zestier than the stuff we buy at the grocery store. We made an arugula pizza with fontina, fresh mozzarella, bacon, onions caramelized in bacon fat, and a scratch-made garlic-herb white sauce. We bought the pizza dough from the bakery at Central Market and used various herbs from my garden. It was ridiculously good. Now I can't wait to taste my own arugula harvest.