Green Ideas for 2010

I recently read an article entitled 5 Essential Green Living Skills Our Grandparents Knew {via Apartment Therapy} that talked about two things, in particular, that I’ve been interested in trying.  One is starting my own garden and the other is preserving perishables that are plentiful in the summer months for use in the winter months.  The other green skills in the article are seed saving, cooking from scratch, and sewing – the last two I already do (or try my best to do) and seed saving seems like something to tackle when I a) have a successful garden and b) have enough space to have a large garden.

Ok, anyway, back to what I was getting at.  Gardening and preserving.  The gardening part, I have to admit, is a little scary for me.  I tried to grow herbs last summer – basil, sage, and oregano – and had some success (the basil thrived, the sage was okay, and the oregano died), but as soon as winter hit, dunzo.  I tried to bring it inside, but didn’t really have anywhere to put it where it could get sun and I would also see it often enough to water it regularly.  I opted for the powder room next to the kitchen, which was awkward because it’s not a very large space and you have to keep the shade open so the sun can get in.  Then we were away for two weeks and now it looks like this:

{my pathetic attempt at winterizing my potted herbs}

Sad, right?  Well, the article above references Mike’s fire escape garden and I think I’m going to try again.  If he can get that much green goodness on his fire escape, I can get some in my backyard.  The winter issue still lingers, but aren’t there some gardens that just regrow every year?  Am I imagining this?  Probably…  And if I am living in a fantasy land and I will have to replant next summer, I can use the next green skill to preserve whatever I grow this spring/summer and use it over the fall/winter.  Then maybe next year I can learn how to extract seeds and save them to replant.

The next green skill I want to attempt is preserving food.   There are lots of ways to do this: canning, freezing, drying/dehydrating.  I want to try all of them.  Every summer,  I go to my local farmer’s market and fret and fret and end up coming home empty handed because I’m scared to buy anything for fear it might go bad before I can eat the whole thing.  OR I buy something because I’ve already come home from the farmer’s market four other Saturdays empty-handed and I feel sad about it and it goes bad because I don’t get to it all.  What a waste, right?  And a little depressing, too.

So!  I’m determined to change this.  I can can.  I can freeze.  I think I might be able to dry (but I may need additional tools for this).  I’ve decided I’m going to read up on all this column has to say before the goodies get here in the spring and then, hopefully, feel confident to stand at the entrance to the farmer’s market with my reusable bag and purchase a perishable fruit or vegetable without a shred of guilt or apprehension.  You go, future me.

{all photos by Davidson Farmer’s Market, except where noted}

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