the girl with the dragon tattoo

the girl with the dragon tattoo
Yes, I have a dragon tattoo as well

Δευτέρα, 24 Μαΐου 2010

Amanda's Garden

Today we are talking to Amanda, from Chicago, USA. She is 28 years old and grows her own vegetables and fruit, in her own garden. Her effort is inspiring, to say the least!
Amanda is conscious of the problem pesticides cause to one's health, and she has been promoting the idea of a home-grown garden as an alternative way of sustenance.

Artemis: Amanda, tell us, when did you start growing?

Amanda: let's see... I always helped grow a garden (as you may or may not know). I grew up in Ohio, on a dead-end street that ended into 96 acres of corn; and with 1 acre we grew everything ourselves (tomatos, strawberries, corn, peppers, egg plant, lettuce, really everything).

Artemis: great start :) I supposed you helped back home so that's how you knew how to do it. But i didn't know about this particular field.

Amanda: but now i live in the city, and my acre is gone, and i just have a little plot but make the most out of it. So I have yellow squash and zucchini (last year my biggest zucchini was 15lbs!!) tomatoes, strawberries, 10 herbs, cucumbers, 5 different types of peppers, blueberries, snap peas... and now I feel like I am forgetting something, but I don't know what haha

Artemis: amazing :) How large is your plot?

Amanda: well it's pretty small - I just section it out. So i line every walkway, every bit of the alley, along the house, and all the way to the front yard.

Artemis: great! you are taking advantage of every bit of free space. What do you do during wintertime? Do you grow during the winter or not?

Amanda: yeah, in the winter I bring some things inside. Peppers, and rosemary are easy to grow inside. So I do that during the winter. But I also freeze a lot of things (since there is SO much) and use it up during the winter as well. Last year we had 68 tomatoes (from the vine 68) so i gave a lot to my co-workers but i also just freeze things like that, and peppers

artemis: how many tomato plants?

Amanda: only 5 plants - actually it was only 3 plants now that i think of it because we put chocolate peppers next to them last year so there wasnt as much space.

Artemis: chocolate peppers? what is this? :D

Amanda: oh yeah they are a very different flavor than any other pepper. They aren't sweet, and they aren't spicy, almost bitter like chocolate, and brown, almost purple.

Artemis: wow i feel i am learning new stuff. I had never heard of this variety. is it particular to the american continent? Does it come from a specific place?

Amanda: you know I am not sure, but I do know it is rare and very hard to find.

Artemis: nevermind I will look it up. Here. Does it look like Jamaican Hot Chocolate (here there is a selection of varieties) or like this?

Amanda: but they are not habanero because they are not hot. It is more like the second, yep more like that.
But the variety here are bitter, so it is a combination of this i believe, a hybrid maybe.

Artemis: bitter chocolate peppers? lol
Amanda: haha. yeah everyone always asks about these, they grow longest, and start the soonest - it's quite interesting really.

Artemis: it is! and how much time do you spend on your garden?

Amanda: um - it depends, like now it is very early so i water every other night and have begun planting new things, like the small peppers, and the tomato plants just went in. so that took about 2 hours last night, so now it is just maintaince. I will water nightly beginning in June and that takes about... 30 minutes, but I make it take longer because I talk and sing to my plants haha

Artemis: haha you're like Amanda from Another Roadside Attraction lol. She was a hippie. one of Tom Robbins' unforgettable characters.

Amanda: and I touch them all, this is a big thing with me, that sounds weird, but I know it helps.

Artemis: no it's not weird -

Amanda: every morning I say GOOD MORNING, and then I touch each plant. HAHA is this silly?!?!

Artemis: no it's not silly, you take care of them. it's important.

Amanda: I read this study when I was about 10 years old about how important touch is to people, and started doing it on the corn in the backyard, and it really helped! So I have done it to every plant ever since.

Artemis: how much of what you grow ends up on the table, compared to how much you buy from stores?

Amanda: during the summer and fall 95% because we cant grow lettuce or spinach, or fruit because there just isn't room in our yard. But we dont buy from super markets, we by from farmers' fruit stands. So we still try to garden pick (as I call it) it just is someone else's garden.
oh and we buy our meat from this local farmer/market guy, he raises and kills his animals at a local farm here.

Artemis: great choice. there are open markets like this here in Greece throughout the year and you can buy directly from the producer/farmer.

Amanda: these are wonderful places. i believe everyone should go to these places and ask questions. ask if they use insecticides and what type of fertilizer they used, and things that are important, of course some farmers will lie to you because they want you to buy it, but you can tell the difference after you bite into it, and then you don't go back to that one any more.

Artemis: there are also special markets for organic stuff here in Greece.

Amanda: it is more expensive, but it is worth it.

Artemis: I agree it's so much healthier and tastier.

Amanda: I always tell people, would you rather spend a little extra money on your fruit, or a lot more on your doctors bill later in life... so it all evens out.

Artemis: as if doctors don't have enough work already!

Amanda: right?

Artemis: so what do you use as a fertilizer?

Amanda: I use cow manure.

Artemis: traditional stuff :D

Amanda: yep that and epsom salts.

artemis: anyway, i really wanted to do this piece on your gardening, it's very inspiring. I meant to ask you for quite a while, now, and it's nice that you brought it up today :)

Amanda: I was reading your brain waves.

Artemis: haha a gardener AND a psychic. Do you talk to animals and plants as well? :D

Amanda: this is silly. but I talk to my plants everyday. Brian (my fiance) makes fun of me so bad!

Artemis: oh they need love just like anything out there and i am sure they don't speak english but they understand the good vibes. I know there has been people doing research that links this phenomenon of good growth of plants with the use of music and speech. So tell Brian to bite it, you are RIGHT! lol. They are living things and living things need love.

Amanda: yes that's how I feel. I started talking to the rhubarb last year (which was always so small and never really grew). This year that thing is so big it needs its own fence! :) I feel everyone and everything needs some good conversation :)

Artemis: right!

Amanda: Here are the pics from the garden

Artemis: thank you :)