by Lydia Krupinski

I have finally gotten around to reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” I’m just about half-way through and already have been deeply moved by this piece. I’ve been through all of Michael Pollan’s books and read “Fast Food Nation” when it first hit the shelves, but there’s something unique about “Animal…,” something beyond description. As I pour through the pages I am left feeling inspired and empowered…knowing that I too can support local agriculture and grow my own food.

On this note I can’t tell you how eager I am to finish the book and even more eager to start my 2010 urban garden.  In anticipation of the coming Spring I have started a list of last year’s successful crops, new planting endeavors, and a wishlist for our urban farming future. In 2009 David and I successfully grew basil, green onions, chives, mint, chamomile, lettuce, and parsley. This year we’re setting our sights on spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, sweet potatoes, beans, and broccoli. A mighty list indeed.

We’ve noted our apartment’s primary sun spots and are planning accordingly. Our back porch had initially been used as a brunch spot, with splashes of flowers in hanging boxes, but this year we’re going all out edibles after finding that we have an all day nook of sunshine in the northeast corner. The front porch was a mix up of veggies and florals, but that too will be transformed into an urban veggie epicenter, with the six windowsills taking the herbal heat. The strawberries will be the only plant I do not plan on growing from seed since Gethsemane sells a beautiful hanging variety near spring that is much more robust than anything I could start on my own.

As I begin to muse on all of the opportunities, I am also settling in to myriads of research. Herbs are one thing, but zucchinis and tomatoes require a whole new level of sophistication. I will need to hunt down some larger containers and buckets for doing some vertical suspension. I would also like to build a tiny and inconspicuous rain barrel and maybe sneak in a tiny composting bin (both of which are frowned upon by our rental management). With endless possibilities my mind is spinning with ideas! The main thing to remember is to upcycle and reduce as many pieces of equipment as possible (like egg cartons as seed starters) and to stick to only organic seeds and soils. Can’t wait for my seeds to arrive and for the green thumb madness to begin!