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As a serious cook, and growing more concerned with the quality of my food and its sourcing, not to mention being a child of the ‘ecology movement’ from the 70s if only by my association with that generation, should you be surprised that I’d eventually want to grow my own vegetables?

This is a project that took place over the course of several months, to be honest. While I did my part often to diminish my carbon footprint on the world through biking rather than driving, my wife tackled the water aspect of conservation by doing two things:
1) saving the initial water runoff when she starts her showers and…
2) nagging me constantly enough that I don’t run the water in the kitchen sink like crazy till it gets warm

My wife some months ago got the notion to buy a vertical garden. Yes, you may well wonder what the hell that is. It is, in essence, an approach to gardening or greenery that involves stacking pots, training plants to vertical directions, or in myriad ways putting more plants, be they vegetables or flowers or trees, on top of each other. Look here for some cool urban concepts of vertical gardening.

So my wife ordered this item some months ago for about $250 or so, and it gathered dust in our backyard during the winter months till just this spring when I gradually approached the big ol’ thing and considered what to do with it. She bought this thing at the vertical garden project and finally, some months later, it’s coming into reality of our property.

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In essence, because our property has little area that receives anything like adequate sunlight to grow vegetables or herbs, it was necessary to grow as much as we could on as small a spot as possible. Turns out it is our southeast corner of the house.

I built and laid out the vertical garden in the right spot…and let it sit for a few weeks. When we had a car for the weekend, I dropped off and bought three large bags of outdoor potting soil. A week later, I bought some red wriggler worms from a local bait shop and actively started saving vegetable scraps from my cooking to contribute to the compost bin of the vertical garden; a central tube where the veggie scraps, egg shells, etc can prove to be hearty fare for our composting worms.

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These cuties are then put into the central tube along with the veggies scraps and 2-4 times a year, I’ll let slip the wing nut at the bottom and receive a big old pile of worm-eaten scraps, shed worm skins, etc that mightily aids in the quality of your soil. It all goes in here.

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No, wait–that last shot is some kim chee I made (heh heh). While that is also a fermented item, it is much more tasty and edible than the kind of fermented vegetable scraps you desire for your garden.

In any case, I’m hopeful that this will work out well and that my second attempt at gardening proves more successful than my last one when we first moved into this house in 1994– not that the last one was a failure, but I wasn’t really into cooking as much then but more into simply being a homeowner…and homeowners apparently had vegetable gardens.

Over the days to come, I hope to show some of the results of my little garden project, and of course, show you their results in my own cooking. Right now it’s just a big ol’ white plastic ‘thing’ but hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll see a pile of green and actually have something to harvest, if only small lettuces.

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