Jhampa the Avo Pit, and Planning Our Asian Food Gardens

We now have three Avoseedos going. This is getting a little crazy, but I’m excited to see how this gadget works.

And here’s a fourth, at my desk. Her name is Jhampa.

We now have three Avoseedos going at the house. And while lunatic indoor gardening is a sure sign that this girl is trying to keep sane through winter, even my long-suffering husband rolled his eyes when he saw three Avoseedos floating in a bowl of water near a window.

Hey, it’s February. It’s been coat weather for almost five months. I’ve forgotten what the sun feels like on my face. We haven’t eaten a garden-fresh veggie since September. My tan lines are gone, and my hair is brown again. And there’s more snow in the weather forecast. These avocado pits are my best friends right now.

I also have an Avoseedo on my desk. Her name is Jhampa, as in Jhampa Lahiri, one of my favorite Indian heritage writers. Grow, Jhampa, grow.

The experiment of planting Meyer lemon seeds in a potato didn’t work out. In a week, the potato was fermenting. Since it’s lemon trees and not homemade vodka I’m looking for, I tossed the potato in the compost. Boo.

Our bonsai is doing well. I don’t let it dry out: every other day, it goes in the kitchen sink for a deep watering, then a draining. I rinse the leaves thoroughly to remove dust, and keep water in the pebble tray underneath. The biggest struggle with bonsai indoors is the lack of natural humidity and fresh air. Trees don’t like being dry. And in winter, in the house, they go dry very quickly.

As soon as it looks like we’re past the last frost of winter, it’s going outside, in shade, in a spot where I’ll remember to keep it moist, which will require daily watering. Keeping a real bonsai happy and alive is diligent work. But it’s mindful work, and I enjoy it.

My husband reminded me last night that in two weeks, we’ll be in March. He’s getting as stir crazy as me. While March is usually a cold month in New England, blesséd April is right behind it. In mid- to late-March, the greens gardens can be planted and tucked under poly rows for an early crop of microgreens. It will be then that we’ll start the veggie seeds indoors for May transplant outdoors.

I’m really excited about the Asian gardens. After years of growing traditional American food gardens with maybe a couple of Asian varieties thrown in, we’re committing all the way to full-on cultivation of all Thai, Chinese, and Japanese plant foods. This will be an experiment in how they fare in New England gardens, and our fresh food diet will be much different this summer.

To keep our families happy, we’re saving a small patch of garden space for the traditional veggies, but aside from us, our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and the Granby food bank will be getting baskets of Thai long beans and Japanese akanada this summer, and not heirloom tomatoes and squash.

Last night, Ganesh appeared in my dreams. I saw him standing on a mouse, arms outstretched, fruit and incense at his feet. I have no idea why he visited me in my sleep. Ganesh is, among other things, the fierce protector of children and our homes, so it’s all good. He’s a holy, benevolent, bad-ass elephant god.

Live in peace.

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