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….  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!