green


Just a quick update to my recent post detailing my experiences growing crops in my window.  One month in and the plants are all looking healthy and have started producing food.  I’ve been able to collect some royal burgundy beans, sugar snap peas, seranno peppers, cherry tomatoes, basil, sage and strawberries.  Still waiting on the cucumbers, lettuce and bok choy to mature a bit.

A number of people have asked what I do about the bugs.  I’ve found that they really aren’t a big problem.  I’ve seen some gnat-like insects, mostly around the cucumbers.   The bok choy has been attacked by a couple of pests as well.  My solution was two-fold.  I used a small amount of garden supply anti-catapillar treatment on the bok choy which seems to help a lot.  The other thing I did was to introduce ladybugs into the garden areas.  I’m sure some might find this concept a bit off-putting, but it doesn’t bother me at all to see the little red buggers, even when they are exploring the rest of the house.  It just reminds me of all the bad insects they are eradicating.

Just for fun, I also got a pot full of Venus fly traps.  Those insect-eating plants work, but a little too well.  In addition to catching the gnats, they were most effective at trapping the ladybugs!  Somehow THAT seemed cruel.

The original post is here.
Here are some recent pix…

Let me begin with a simple admission.  I don’t know much about gardening.  Until a few weeks ago, I had never planted a seed, or maintained houseplants.  My thumbs weren’t green, they were red and swollen from playing Xbox.  I had never given much thought to the source of the fresh food I consume or its impact, but recently I’ve started to experiment with growing my own.

office_CU

I live in the city and although I have a small yard, I have to occasionally share it with a family of local raccoons and other creatures.  After several attempts at raising outdoor crops which accomplished little more than providing raccoon snacks, I decided to move my efforts indoors.

offce_bins

Two south-facing window spots offered enough sun and so I started experimenting.  Within days the various plants were all responding well and so the experiments grew.

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lv_garden

Traditional flower pots and planters were soon replaced by big black plastic storage bins from Office Depot which were less expensive and more efficient.  I MacGuvered some one-gallon water bottles into hanging topsy turvy-style planters and tried a variety of vines, including tomatoes, pole beans, cucumbers and peppers.

office_hanging

Hanging crops above other plants is a great way to maximize the amount of growing space and conserve water, and it wasn’t long before the notion of “hanging water bottles” was upgraded and replaced by a complete garden row of inverted plants, all in black bins with holes drilled in them, effectively doubling the garden size.  (12 ft by 1.5 ft)

lv_hanging

cuke

Initial harvests have been small as I figure out what crops work, but so far have I’ve enjoyed basil, tomatoes, romaine, yellow and burgundy beans and one tiny potato.

tomoto

royalBurg

potato

Current crops include more tomatoes, peppers, beans and cukes, plus butter lettuce, onions, sugar snap peas, bok choy, blueberries, strawberries, and a meyer lemon tree.

garden row

snappeas

PART 2) More images and details here.

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Altoids_garden

Everyone seems to be putting their DIY projects into Altoids tins and other candy containers.  I’ve been collecting these small containers for a while but didn’t have a use for them until now.  The Altoids Garden.

These tiny succulents cuttings and small herbs seem to be thriving in organic potting soil.  I water them a few times a day.

A single cutting in organic soil covered with black stones.  A tiny bonsai in a promotional CD case.  They will likely stay small with such a small volume of soil.  They should be misted a few times a day but don’t overwater.  A light covering of stones will help keep the soil moist.  Perfect for the office.

I really know very little about plants. However, all of these small succulents are native to Northern CA and are very hearty. I plucked them out of my yard like weeds. They require minimal care and watering. The Banzai were chosen based on small size. I have one that is a Pine, and a few others I don’t know. I also grew cat grass and other sprouting seeds. The only plant that didn’t last long were the herbs, because they need to grow – the succulents and Banzai are content to remain small.

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This week on Gomi Style, learn how to make easy and fun flower bouquets from old beer and soda cans. Don’t recycle, re-use.

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Learn how to make cool functional furniture with cardboard! Gomi Style is a DIY lifestyle and design show created by San Francisco Bay Area makers, artists and engineers using found objects, recycled materials, and technology.

We started with a Honda Rebel junker and a dream – to make a practical, zero emissions vehicle for commuting in San Francisco. Armed with a basic metal shop, we methodically convert the Honda rebel 250 into a clean quiet bike in about a week.

Rock On! 

 

Rock On!

 

Gomi is a slang word meaning trash or junk. It’s originally a Japanese word for dust or garbage, but it’s now used to describe anything that we discard or no longer value. It was introduced to English speakers by the best selling fiction writer, William Gibson, who is also credited with coining the term “cyberspace” back in the 1980’s. Gibson used the word gomi frequently to describe the near-future dystopia of our material culture gone haywire.

“Rubin, in some way that no one quite understands, is a master, a teacher, what the Japanese call a sensei. What he’s the master of, really, is garbage, kipple, refuse, the sea of cast-off goods our century floats on. Gomi no sensei. Master of junk.”      

From The Winter Market © 1986 William Gibson

This quote describes a possible near future – One not very difficult to imagine. It is a world in which the monumental amounts of trash overtake the landscape to become the soil upon which humans build our lives. Where does the gomi stop and the world begin, he asks. Gibson describes the artist Rubin as working with these discarded things without acknowledging them as his defined palate of materials. He doesn’t refer to them as junk, or found objects. They are simply his medium, the air he breathes, the tides in which he’s always swum. The materials are the common, the base, the unimportant. They were once raw materials, turned useful as technology, discarded as trash, to be rediscovered by the eye of the artist, this time as the building blocks for works of art. In this truly inspired way, the medium is indeed the message.

GOMI voids the warranty. GOMI breaks the rules. But GOMI is responsible.

GOMI strives to give renewed life and purpose to existing materials and technologies, so it is obviously pro-recycle and pre-cycle, but it is not anti-consumer. GOMI materials were consumer goods – perhaps they’re past their obvious prime, but still useful and viable to the creative eye. 

GOMI has skepticism for much of the mainstream corporate greenwashing currently in vogue.

GOMI doesn’t want to turn back the clock and “return to nature”. Just the opposite, It is a decidedly urban mindset, reflecting a forward-thinking cyberpunk aesthetic. It’s the young trench coat hacker kid, and it’s also the phenom founder of this week’s “it” IPO. GOMI can segue from Burning Man to the boardroom without difficulty.

GOMI is DIY. GOMI endorses off-grid living and disaster preparedness. As recent events have shown, one should expect to be self-reliant for an extended period of time regardless of one’s location. A survivalist mentality is just as necessary in the city as way out in the boonies. 

GOMI is tech-positive and sees the benefits of continued technological development. As more new and interesting technologies become available, the ways to rethink their usefulness also expands. It’s the unexpected secondary uses of a technology that feeds GOMI. Cars, motorcycles and other vehicles, energy production, the evolution of humanity, personal technology and the Internet – All of the things that we can’t live without are embraced by GOMI. I.e. Vehicles can be greener, energy can be off-grid, our bodies and lives can be enhanced, etc … GOMI doesn’t say, “Cars are bad”. GOMI says “you can make your car better”.

GOMI is an aesthetic choice – your best defense against mindless mediocrity.

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