Settling in

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So whatever this is, we’re past the beginning.

We’re past the new. We’re past the where-is-my-charger, I-can’t-find-the-connector-cable, what-should-I-eat-for-lunch-every-day. We’re past do-I-still-wear-makeup-and-shower-in-the-morning. We’re past wondering if there will be eggs and toilet paper (either there will or there won’t). We’re past the shock, the novel, the sudden. We’re past canceling trips. We’re past just-these-few-weeks. We’re past oh-well-it’s-just-a-few-weeks.

We’re past all that.

Whatever it is, we’re into the next.

Things I’m reading

Today is Thursday night, for me week 7 of shelter-in-place/work-from-home/etc.

Things I’m reading:

Things I’m grateful for:

  • Somebody at work wants to start a book club, with books not about work.
  • Sun.
  • The peas are up! And the kale! And the beans! And the melons! And the spinach! They’re all up about a quarter of an inch, but still. They’re up! And there’s one ripe strawberry, which I’m hoping to eat before a squirrel does.
  • That our house, the house of the Horrible House Remodel, came with an Awesome Garden. We at least partially bought the house because of it, and yet. The Awesome Garden is even more awesome than I realized. The past several weeks have offered me much more time to spend in it, and I love it.
  • That we got the new fence and raised vegetable garden beds in before shelter-in-place.
  • Clear air, and the views over the southern & eastern hills.
  • Two days ago, the deer that hang out in the far yard eyed me carefully while I sat on a bench under a tree. I held very still, and they carefully walked right past me and continued on their way to graze on whatever they wanted to graze on.
  • Having a kitchen, and a heating system.
  • Having plenty to eat.
  • That my family is healthy.

People I miss:

  • My parents.
  • My nephew-by-friendship, and his parents.
  • My hiking buddy.
  • My afternoon-walk friend, and my mentee.
  • My college friend who just moved to California.

Things I’m surprised by:

  • How just plain exhausting videoconferences are.
  • My own lack of patience for said videoconferences; most large virtual meetings; project status updates; and other work-process type things.
  • How nice it is to be at home all day.
  • How not-stir-crazy I feel.
  • How I still feel busy (although, and I’m grateful for this, less than a week or two ago).
  • How easily we switched from eating out nearly every night (which started because no kitchen), to cooking nearly every night (because shelter in place).
  • The difference an ergonomic keyboard makes.

That is all.

Really easy gardening (in pots! in not much space!)

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Baby snap pea plant. Gardening makes things better!

A few friends who are sheltering in place in apartments (or houses with not much outdoor space) have asked about growing herbs and veggies in containers, and how to get started.

This is totally do-able! You just need pots; potting soil; and seeds. It can be sort of intimidating to figure out which, though, so if you want an easy way to get started, here’s a list:

Pots and dirt

I’m linking to Home Depot because they’re open, and offer delivery. Your local garden store might be open too! If so, just ask them for three or four large-ish pots and the equivalent amount of potting mix.

Self-watering planter, 1 (or 2 if adding a tomato plant)

Rectangular deck box, 2 (or 3 if adding basil)

Potting soil, 2 bags (or 3, if you get an additional planter and/or deck box)

Seeds

I’m listing seeds that are easy to grow; don’t need transplanting, staking, or other special stuff; grow quickly; and are a reasonable size to grow in containers.

I’m linking to KitchenGardenSeeds.com because I’ve ordered from them before, and they’re open and shipping. I also like RedwoodSeeds.net and ReneesGarden.com.

Snap peas: Sugar Ann

Arugula: Runaway Arugula

Spinach: Bordeaux Red-Stemmed Spinach

Parsley: Gigante d’Italia

Cilantro: Caribe

If you have a sunny spot, you can also do:

Tomatoes: Cherry Falls (doesn’t need a tomato cage!)

Basil: Bonazza

Planting

The seed packets will have planting instructions. In general, all these seeds should be planted just below the surface, about 1/4” to 1/2” deep.

Peas: plant them in the self-watering pot.

Arugula & spinach: plant in one of the rectangular boxes; use half the box for each one.

Parsley & cilantro: plant in the other rectangular box; use half the box for each one.

Tomato: plant in the other self-watering pot.

Basil: plant in half the other rectangular box; use the other half for whichever other type of seed you like best.

Tomatoes like warmth, so if you have space, start by keeping the pot indoors and move it outside only once the seedlings are 5”-6” tall. If you don’t have space indoors, find a sunny spot for the tomato – in front of a wall that gets sun reflected off it is a good choice.

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