20 February 2010


About a year ago I picked up the book Microgreens: A Guide to Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens by Eric Franks and Jasmine Richardson. For some reason I kept putting off trying to grow my own until yesterday. We used to get microgreens from Bryson Farms when we lived in the city and always enjoyed them. I recycled a couple of plastic containers that salad greens come in to try my first two batches.

Microgreens are seeds grown in soil (or another medium) to the second stage of development. This is the stage where roots are becoming established and the first leaves, called cotyledons are opened. This only takes a week or two after germination. They are more similar to baby greens than sprouts at this stage, but have an intense flavour and very high nutritional value. According to the book, broccoli at four days past germination has twenty to fifty times the sulfuraphane as full grown broccoli by weight. This is the stuff that is believed to be so healthy in cruciferous vegetables.

First, I put some drainage slits in the bottom of the containers, then I put an inch and a half of organic potting soil in the bottom of each container. I sprinkled a mix of brassica seeds in one...

and pea seeds (both are organic sprouting seeds from Mumm's) in the other.

I covered the small brassica seeds with an unbleached paper towel and used soil to cover the larger pea seeds, then I watered well. The paper towel provides a good visual indication of the soil moisture.

I put the lids back on the containers to retain moisture, then set them in the warmest spot in our house.

Twenty four hours later the brassicas are already showing some signs of life. Being able to peel back the paper towel is a big bonus for people like me who can't wait to see progress. There is nothing to see in the pea container because of the soil covering.

Once the seeds have germinated, I'll remove the paper towel covering and the lids and set them in a sunny window. I'm hoping there will be enough light for them in the week or so before they're harvested. If not, I'll set up my seed starting shop light for them, but I'd like to avoid that if possible.

I'll post more pictures as things progress...

16 February 2010

It would be funny if it weren't true.

Who's picking up the bill? Well, as always, those guys over there.

Can Meg come out to play?

Harrison, the rough collie lives next door. He's a charming fellow (and well-dressed). Meg has taken advantage of his gentle nature since she was a little puppy and he was a strapping young dog. She chases him mercilessly and steals his toys and bones without repercussion, even though he's three times her size. Still, he seems to think she's a fun playmate and they spend hours together running and wrestling and chewing on each other's neck fur.

04 February 2010

Screaming for change

I recently read a comment on the movie What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire, which I watched a while back:
It's possibly the most depressingly, bleakly realistic movie I've ever seen regarding coming environmental collapse, touching on everything from peak oil to societal norms that are keeping us from doing anything meaningful "outside the box" ... One thing that I can recommend for it on a positive note is that it gives one 'permission' to step outside and try something else ... in fact it positively SCREAMS for such changes.
I wholeheartedly agree with that comment and I think it could fairly be applied to at least a dozen books and movies I've consumed over the past few years. So why the heck am I only playing around at the fringes of real change? I feel real grief at the loss of wild spaces and species, anger at the political machinery that serves corporate interests in this destruction, utter frustration over a system that normalizes the rampant demolition of soil, water, air and climate for short term interests, and sorrow for future generations who will suffer as a result of our greed. Yet I haven't blown up any dams, reduced my own consumption to a sustainable level, or raised money for any important cause, and I use toilet paper. Here's what I tell myself about why:
  1. My family wouldn't stand for any lifestyle activism. They are addicted to hot showers, a warm house, car travel, and toothpaste.
  2. Lifestyle activism doesn't change anything anyway.
  3. The system is rigged.
  4. I don't know what to do.
  5. I like my high-consumption lifestyle; it's comfortable and I would be lost without the internet.
  6. I never go through drive-throughs, what more do you want?
  7. There are lots of people saying that things have to change and it seems like no one is listening to them, so what's the point?
  8. It would be irresponsible of me to abandon the money economy if by doing so I would jeopardize my retirement savings.
I could go on, but you get the idea.


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