Windowfarm Harvest

So, my Windowfarm has been growing for 3 months, with middling success and it’s time to make some decisions.  What to harvest?  What to start for the next round?  With such small amounts, harvesting the kale and arugula will decimate the farm and the yield is so miniscule, it would seem appropriate to cook it up on the toy kitchen in my daughters’ room.  Lesson number one:  start your next round of seeds earlier, so they are ready to transplant at the time of harvest.

Having just figured that out, I couldn’t wait for my next round of seeds because I needed to harvest my parsley for our seder plate – you see, I like to source my bitter herbs locally.  I chopped off the whole lot and we passed them around and ate them dipped in saltwater.  Delicious!  Parsley is definitely going into the second round of the Windowfarm.

Lesson number two:  unless you have a gigantic Windowfarm, you are better off growing herbs that you can clip a little at a time when needed. One thing I regret not growing the first time around is basil – who wouldn’t love some fresh basil in the wintertime?  So, basil seeds are on the list.  We only have six slots, so we have to choose carefully.  My tomato plant grew wildly out of control trying desperately to get enough light.  It made me feel bad: all that straining and no flowers.  My plan with tomatoes is to transplant them into traditional window boxes in our sunny stairwell and see how they fare, leaving the more delicate herbs for the Windowfarm. That is, except for our biggest success so far:  Shishito Peppers!

Shishito peppers seem to love the Windowfarm environment, and perhaps I should just make it all about them, but I am inclined to diversify.  Last night, I started a new round of seeds: Basil, Parsely, Cilantro, and Shishitos.  We’ll see what transpires.

In the meantime, I have been reading Harriet Fasenfest’s delightful book, The Householder’s Guide to the Universe. It is an almanac for the city farmer – at least for the city farmer with a yard – starting with January and guiding you through the seasons.  The beginning through March is all about seed selection and garden planning, then it moves on to the actual gardening, harvesting and food preserving through the rest of the year.  There is a lot to ponder in this book and I have been trying to adapt it to my own landless version of householding, by planning my indoor garden.  Here is what I have so far:

Windowfarm (6 hydroponic slots): herbs and shisitos

In window pots  :  tomatoes, mint, scallions and pea shoots.

Under the bed:  shiitake and oyster mushrooms

If I’m feeling particularly adventurous: ginger, quinoa and maybe I’ll throw in a rice paddy!

It’s planting season! What are you growing this year? Indoors or out!

  1. #1 by jmeyersforeman on April 11, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    Hi, like you I enjoy the challenge of growing indoors, my space outdoors is limited! during the winter i grow the herbs indoors, parsley, chives, rosemary, mint, thyme, sage, basil, and oregano. These pots move outdoors in the summer, and have been around my kitchen (except the basil) for 3 or 4 years now. I have very little luck with basil – but continue to by it from the herb gardener at the famer’s market about every 3 or 4 months.
    Good luck with your harvest and next season. I admire your tenacity and enjoy your blog!

    • #2 by domaphile on April 11, 2012 - 4:21 pm

      I haven’t had much luck with basil, either, but am definitely going to focus on herbs this year. I’m reading An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler and her chapter on herbs is pure poetry!

  2. #3 by Helen Topcik on April 11, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    Only throw in the rice paddy if you’re feeling Pearl Buck-like and plan to give birth in the fields while harvesting. (I hope I’m remembering that illusion to The Good Earth correctly, otherwise, as Rosanadana, of blessed memory, used to say: “never mind”). As far as the basil is concerned, it is so temperamental and sometimes yields so little, but the aroma is the best.

  3. #4 by getplanted on April 12, 2012 - 1:16 am

    You cannot go wrong with chives. They simply grow and expand with no maintenance or pest problems. Pick leaves and use them on salads and jusy about everything you cook to enhance flavor. Garlic chives are also excellent. Their leaves can be picked like regulaer chives and they add a mild garlicy flavor to your food. Whan the chives and garlic chives start to ougrow their space, dig them up and divide them into halves. Plant one half back in the space. Plant the other half somewhere else, or put it in a small pot and give to someone as a Christmas or birthday present.

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