Eat Close to Home, Foodshed Planet, and Flowers Indoors

The garden blog, Eat Close to Home, has posed a victory garden challenge and the author offers personal assistance to the first five responders, even if you do not live close to Ann Arbor Michigan. Such a deal.

Photos: Snow pea and pole bean flowers last spring.

Foodshed Planet is the originator of the idea and becoming a Companion Planter is at the core of the plan. The basics include the fundamentals of community building at its best.

Help each other; be part of a shared effort to help more people grow and eat home grown food.

Create a planting bed for someone else, share some of your perennial plants or annual seeds with them. Pass on gardening books and magazines. Share the produce from your garden or make something out of them and share the prepared food.

A quote from the blog, "My mom had a garden that she called her Friendship Garden because everything in it had been given to her by friends."

Sounds wonderfully nostalgic and I wish I could grow vegetables well enough to be one of those people. Only a few things grow well for me so far, but I share them.

Foodshed links to Hills and Plains Seedsavers in Australia in their discussion of getting friends involved in growing food. Click through to get inspired to grow some of your own food this spring.

The goals Foodshed set are not small. Their goals are: 2-million new gardens in 2008, Victory Garden poster (poster competition deadline is March 1), and to find sponsors who would be willing to offer a discount to Victory Garden participants.

Cooking Light Magazine has an article on how to grow amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus bulbs in the Jan/Feb issue. I don't shop much, so I didn't know amaryllis bulbs are still in stores.
If you find some on a late sale and want to grow them on a windowsill here are the instructions:
* Fill a container half full with rocks or potting soil and sprinkle with a pinch of horticultural charcoal.
*Nestle the bulbs into the rocks, pointed end up. Set multiple bulbs close together without touching each other or the pot.
*Arrange the rest of the stabilizing element (soil or stones) around the bulbs high enough to hold without burying. (The top one-third of the bulb should be above soil or stone line.)
* Add water until roots are covered, but keep level below bottom of the bulb to prevent rotting.

The amaryllis that I bring out every year, is in its fourth winter and has sprouted beautiful leaves. After it blooms, I tuck it behind a door to dry out until summer. When the weather is reliably above 60-degrees, I put it outside to build up the bulb for the next winter.

If you want your amaryllis to last from one year to the next, use the potting soil method.

I grow Paperwhite narcissus using the stones and water method described above. After they finish blooming I put them outside, then plant them in the garden in the spring.


Anonymous said…
I found your blog via a comment you left on Eat Close to Home. I look forward to perusing your past posts!

Also wanted to let you know about a challenge I've just started:

The Growing Challenge

Emily (from Eat Close to Home) and Patti (from Foodshed Planet) are joining me and several others. It should be fun.

Basically, the idea is to grow one more food from seed than you did last year, and write about gardening once a week. My hope is to start a community of food growers, one seed at a time!

I hope you don't mind the plug, but thought it might be interesting to you and your readers!
Anonymous said…
Emily and Patti -
Your idea dovetails perfectly with my thoughts about growing at least your own greens.

I find vegetable gardening such a huge challenge! Even spinach, lettuce and other so-called easy to grow veggies have eluded my list of successes.

Drop in and plug growing veggies from seed once a week here if you have time - we all need ongoing encouragement to keep growing with all the other demands of our time and energy.

I think it will take more than one seed at a time though. Maybe one new variety a season is more realistic as our goal.
Anonymous said…
Melinda -
Sorry, I left you off my response.
I don't know what your writing/blog information is.

Drop back in and let readers know how to find your writing, too. Then, we can drop in and let you know how our seed to table projects are going this spring.
Thanks, Martha
Anonymous said…
Hi Martha,

I think my comment confused you - apologies - it's still early this morning and I haven't had my coffee!

The Growing Challenge can be found at my blog:

Emily and Patti are joining the challenge, so I thought this would be an interesting addition to your post.

Since some of my readers have never had a garden before, one food crop from seed is all they are up for. But there are options to make your own rules, too!

Take care,
Pattie Baker said…
Hi! What fun to meet everyone! If veggies don't seem to work for you, try perennial herbs that others have found grow well in your area. And work on improving your soil. Cover crops, like crimson clover, hairy vetch, buckwheat and rye (find what works best foryour climate at what tiem of the year)are easy to grow, look nice and improve the soil.
Anonymous said…
Melinda's blog, Elements in Time: Creating Edible Landscape, has lots of good reading and reference on it.

Sonoma County CA is a much easier place to garden than here, at least as far as the weather goes.

Melinda, the list of books is a good one. Have you heard of "Gardening When It Counts" yet? The author was the founder of a large seed company. When he sold the company he moved to Australia and wrote the book - good reference.

Anyone interested in joining the Growing Challenge should visit to see if it is something you want to join in on.
Anonymous said…
Martha and/or Molly - are you wanting garden mentoring? I've been trying to contact Molly via e-mail, but haven't had a response. If you are posting as an FYI but won't be needing any help this year, please let me know...I have a couple people still looking for garden mentors.
Anonymous said…
Oh, thanks so much. I can make it without a mentor this year.
Just keep me in the loop about the project so I can stay up to date.
My email is

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