BPL Offering Free Gardening Kits

Boston Public Library Gardening Kit

A few years ago, I remember reading about seed libraries and thinking that it was a wonderful idea for those interested in gardening. The idea has taken off and you can probably find one near you or even start your own.

What is a seed library? Pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a place, like a library, that shares seeds with people in the local community. The specific rules may vary from place to place, but you can generally get seeds for free or at a low price.

While you can have seeds for houseplants, flowers and herbs, having seeds for growing fruits and vegetables provides a way to strengthen food security. In other words, being intentional about keeping seeds for growing food allows some independence from the mainstream food system.

Food is delicious and fun. But it’s also a necessity for life and therefore political. There is enough food for everyone, but everyone doesn’t have enough. Systems in place need changing.

As we leave the pandemic, more of us are thinking differently about life and welcoming systemic change. This week I had my second COVID-19 vaccine, so I’m looking forward to normal life again. However, I’m hoping the new normal is better than the old one.

Seed libraries provide the literal seeds to grow our own gardens. Starting on May 5th, gardening kits were available from the Boston Public Library – 850 kits spread out among the branches.

You can choose from two types of gardening kits. Resilient Gardening Kits include everything you need for a veggie garden. For those with a focus on herbal remedies, Herbal Wildflower Kits contain what you’ll need. Take a look at the BPL website for more information on how to pick-up your kit. I’m not sure how long these will last, therefore, it’s probably best to go sooner than later. Happy planting!

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Screenshot: Boston Public Library

When Life Gives You Lemons

I’m about to go off on the lemons to lemonade metaphor, so buckle up.

This is my first post in almost a month and a half. My last post was about the passing of my cousin and trying to come to grips with his being gone. What that meant to me and my family.

Then two weeks later my mother had a stroke. Luckily she survived and is recovering. But talk about shaking up my world. And we’re still in a pandemic! Freaking sour lemons!

When things are bad, they can get worse. Then sink to the depths of what seems to be the absolute worst, then plunge off a bridge. Then plummet straight down to….Β  Okay. You get it.

I believe that energetically things must balance out eventually. So I’m looking forward to the joyous and carefree times that absolutely positively must be ahead.

Which brings me back to lemons. You know? Lemons get a bad rap. Sure, they’re sour. But they also bring out the taste in so many foods. They aren’t just for lemonade. And it’s not only the juice that we use. Lemon zest adds a different type of flavor than the juice. You can candy the peels. The juice and zest can be used in sweet and savory recipes.

What would food be without lemons? Bland. Because we need the sour to notice the sweet. Without one, we can’t truly appreciate the other.

When I started reaching out to family and friends telling them about my mom, so many have stepped up to help. It feels good knowing people are truly here for me. I actually feel more supported than I have in a long time. Maybe they were always ready to help, but I just didn’t notice.

While scrolling on Instagram a few weeks ago, I noticed that someone had an orange plant grown from seeds. I didn’t have oranges, but I had lemons.

Since they’re both citrus and have seeds, I figured maybe I could grow a lemon plant. I’m plant obsessed and growing from seeds is the cheapest way to get new ones. Plus you get the joy of nurturing the plant from day one. Like a true plant parent!

So I squeezed some lemons. But this time I kept the seeds and planted them. Not all of them sprouted, but I have two very strong looking seedlings.

I kid you not. The day the first one sprouted I had asked the universe to show me some joy. It wasn’t big huge joy. But it was still joy. And showed proof of life. I’ll take it.

Indoor Garden: Growing Celery

celery growing in small jar of water

My relationship with celery varies over time. When I’m going through a soup making phase, I tend to buy more. Then I usually never make enough soup and some (or most!) of it goes to waste.

After that, I stop buying celery. Then a year later, I read a random article about the million health benefits of celery and wonder why I never have it in the house. So I buy some, cut up some sticks and remember how I hate that it’s so stringy. I plan to use it in some tuna or something and two months later I have to throw it all away, because it’s gone bad. This is the celery story of my life.

In other words, I need to keep just a small amount of celery at home and not much more. Over the past few months, during quarantine, I’ve been eating more celery — chopping it up and putting it into green salads. It’s so strange how when I eat it plain or even with something on it, it tastes bland and the stringy nature of it annoys me. But eating it as part of a salad adds a lot of flavor and a wonderful crunch. I love it!

During this time, I saw a blog post on making kitchen scrap gardens and how easily I could grow celery indoors in a small jar. So about five days ago, I cut the stalks off and put the root in some water. Look at all the growth in the picture above! In two weeks or so, I will probably have a small harvest. Yay!

Most likely the harvest update won’t be on this blog. So follow me on Instagram, where I document my plant parent adventures, and see how my garden continues to grow.

*Updated 8/13/2020* I harvested and it was delicious!

Saturdays in the Park: Win a Monstera Plant!

*Updated* The winner of the Monstera plant is Leslie Larocca! Congratulations!

Monstera Deliciosa plant in pot.
Photo by Mike Marquez on Unsplash

If you’ve got a green thumb and you’re really into plants, you might be familiar with Monstera Mondays on Instagram. Plant parents with Monstera deliciosa plants celebrate the beauty of these plants by taking pictures and sharing them with the #monsteramonday hashtag.

A Monstera in its full glory is a joy to behold. Many of us would like one of these plants, but they are not easy to find. Your average store doesn’t stock them, so it takes some effort to find one to bring home.

If you live in the Boston or South Shore area near Quincy, you might be about to get lucky. This coming Saturday, August 3rd, I will be holding a free (in person) raffle for you to win your very own Monstera plant!

Since the first plant swap that I held a few weeks ago with the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association was so fun and well received, I decided to have another one. This will be the last of the Saturdays in the Park events for the summer, so I decided to take things up a notch.

I contacted Fruit Center Marketplace, a specialty grocery store with locations in Milton and Hingham, that I wrote about five years ago, and asked if they would be willing to donate a plant for a giveaway.

Since the Milton location is practically around the corner from the Wollaston section of Quincy, I’ve visited several times to buy items for myself and others.

Fruit Center Marketplace has an eclectic mix of gourmet foods and treatsice cream, wine, craft beers, flowers, plants, gift baskets and more. During the summer, so many of us are visiting friends and family at home for gatherings, and would like to bring something special as a thank you for our hosts. You can definitely find something here!

Being much more than your typical grocery story, Fruit Center Marketplace is planning to start stocking Monstera plants on a regular basis in the near future! No further need to wander around aimlessly looking for them!

Since they are generous and have access to Monstera plants, they are donating a Monstera plant for the raffle. Yay!

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Plant Swap

The plant swap is being held from 12pm – 2pm on Beale Street in Wollaston at Safford Park with the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association.

If you want to participate in the plant swap, bring your potted plants, non-potted but rooted plants, and cuttings. Please label what you bring to help others identify the plants. Indoor plants and outdoor plants are all welcome!

At the last plant swap, people dropped off more plants than they took. So you may be able to take many plants home, because I cannot bring them all home with me!

Raffle

If you’d like a chance at winning a Monstera plant for free, stop by the plant swap table this Saturday, August 3rd to enter.

You don’t have to participate in the plant swap to enter.

It’s free to enter.

Only one entry per person.

Write your name, the city or town where you live, and phone number on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.

At around 1:45 pm, one name will be drawn at random and chosen as the winner. The name will be announced at that time.

In order to win, you either must be on the premises to bring the plant home or live in Quincy. If you leave before 1:45pm and live in Quincy, I will bring it to your home after contacting you by phone and making arrangements. Or you can come back for it before 2pm. I will not be able to bring the plant to anyone living outside of Quincy, so if you leave and your name is called, another name will be drawn.

None of my family or friends are eligible to enter. And obviously not me. Sorry! It wouldn’t be fair or look good if we won.

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Hope to see many of you on Saturday!