I grew up in a farming community in Central California in a small town called Hanford (google it, you’ll be indifferent that you did). As I like to say… You can take the boy out of the country… but you can’t make him go back!
I have long since considered myself a city dweller (or as of present a suburban city dweller) and love the fast pace of the busy streets and high-rise building. I love the convenience of having things close by, the night life, the culture and the excitement cities have to offer. And while I prefer the urine smelling subways of San Francisco over the cow dung smelling… um… every where… in my home town, I do miss the farm fresh produce that country living provides.
YOU PAY FOR POMEGRANATES!?!?!
I remember the first time I saw how much a pomegranate sold for in a grocery store in the bay area. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Don’t people know these things grow on trees!
There was a lone pomegranate tree in a field near my high school that produced like a bazzillion pomegranates. If that ran out, our neighbor a few doors down had like a hundred trees. Talking to him about what you can do with a pomegranate was like talking to Bubba from Forest Gump about what you can do with shrimp. Let’s just say my parents are still well stocked with pomegranate jelly.
And that is just pomegranates… don’t get me started on peaches and apricots!
PLANTING THE SEED
I’ve always had this idea that someday I will live in a nice house with a yard. There are two problems with that statement and living on a single family income in the bay area… house and yard. We have been confined to apartment dwelling for some years now and while we plan and are working towards bigger and better things, my desire for a lush garden with fresh produce has been nothing more that a pipe dream… until now!
I decided to wait no longer… I was going to plant a garden on the balcony and become one of the few… the proud… apartment dwelling… urban farmers!
So I now have a 4′X4′ raised planter box that is host to beans, squash, watermelon, pumpkin, peas, cucumbers, eggplant and tomatoes. I have 3 buckets to hold 3 blueberry bushes, 1 orange tree (ok… we’ve actually had this for about a year and a half. We actually thought we killed it because it lost all of its leaves and started looking all brown and dry. Miraculously the tree came back to life and now hosts a wonderful bouquet of orange blossoms that draws in the humming birds.) and finally we have a few containers that house strawberries, radishes, garlic and onions (not all in the same container). We’ll be getting a few more containers here really soon too!
OH HOW THEY WIGGLE AND SQUIRM
In addition to a garden, I’ve always been interested in “vermicomposting” or worm farming. Originally I was just planning to have the worms live in a bucket… but through the beauty of social networking, I posted my interest in this project on facebook and someone said they had an actually worm compost bed just hanging out in their shed. So now I have a legit worm set up complete with wiggly worms that I bought at a nursery suggested by another one of my fantastic facebook friends!
I would like to say that I’m doing the worm bin for the kids… but really I know I’m more excited about it than they are, but they do like to show their friends when they come over. Today my 6 year old had a friend over and was thrilled to show her the bin. We came across a couple of worms mating (each worm has both male and female organs).
“Look dad, those worms tied themselves together!”
“Yes. Yes they did!”
Here’s to grabbing a bit of that country life…