Starting Early

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Last year we had a heated greenhouse for the winter, extra light, extra everything including a massive power bill for all our efforts. This year we decided to shut the greenhouse down and just leave some herbs out there and let them eventually die off when it got too cold. However, Mother Nature and her infinite sense of humor, decided that Salt Lake City would forego winter all together. Well at least for pretty much all of January and its’s now looking like February as well.

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Last year we started our seedlings in a grow chamber in the greenhouse. This year that grow chamber is currently in our kitchen and pumping away. That’s right we caught the bug to start early (maybe too early). It’s hard not to dream when the temperatures are in the high 50’s and low 60’s during the day.

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Anyways our house has been transformed into a giant seedling growing operation. When Forest introduced the idea I was not so psyched about my whole downstairs and part of our bedroom turned into seedlings, but I can say it’s pretty awesome to see them pop up and I find myself taking breaks from writing during the day to check out the seeds.

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So Forest wins one this time (he wins a lot) I am totally use to half the house dedicated to the early starts of a new growing season. I am dreaming of the lettuce, kale, cabbage, broccoli, basil and more growing in the living room already!

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What if the Joneses Became Sustainable Urban Farmers?

What if one day Mr. Jones decided to trade in his McMansion and Hummer for some muck boots and a straw hat?

And Mrs. Jones decided that it was time to leave her
stainless steel kitchen and fancy jewelry behind to begin raising chickens, rabbits and goats.
What if Mr. Jones’ daughter decided to no longer spend her time idolizing rich celebrities and shopping, and instead feel in love with plants, gardens, and nature?

And her brother decided to quit watching football and playing video games, so he could help his dad build an Earthship and a passive solar heat system.

Wait, would that make our economy collapse?…

If people don’t build big houses and buy expensive furniture, how will contractors and supply stores make any money?

If teenagers don’t go shopping and play video games, will companies be able to sell there products?

Would it force contractors to also become sustainable urban farmers?

Would companies have to come up with useful new products that these sustainable people would buy?

Hmmm…

What if Mr. Jones created a web page that listed all laws and policies with a brief video that gave an unbiased two sided explanation of what was trying to be accomplished, and people could vote yes or no with the click of a button, excluding the need for political representatives, which in turn would end tax payers having to give there hard earned money to them?

Would the political representatives have to sell there third homes on Maui?

What if Mr. Jones made a documentary that was so thought provoking, that humanity couldn’t help but make all there churches into greenhouses and there golf courses into vegetable gardens, orchards, and farms, to create an over abundance of nutrient rich food for all the worlds people?

Would Monsanto lose there strong hold on farmers?

What if Mr. Jones devised a plan to spread high levels of education all across the planet, free of charge, to every person willing to learn?

Would a well educated humanity stop fighting wars and wasting resources?

What if someday, keeping up with the Joneses, actually became a good idea?

Aphids and world population

If I didn’t want aphids to be a part of my life, then I should have been a little more careful.

Fall turning into winter and my vegetable garden hadn’t hardly even produced yet, I guess they didn’t have enough sunlight, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have enough nutrients, and I’m almost positive that I planted everything too close together.

So my genius idea was to transplant everything into pots and bring them inside the greenhouse to let them finish what they started.

What I didn’t plan on were the aphids that I would transport in the process.

Aphids love everything about greenhouses, the temperature, the humidity, the plants. From entomologist Stephen A. Marshall: in optimal environmental conditions and lacking any predators, parasites, or disease, a single aphid could produce 600 billion descendants in one season.

Oops.

I tried soapy water, I tried neem oil, I tried lemon juice, I went leaf by leaf smashing them with my fingers, I even politely asked them to leave, and yet they still remain.

I wonder if I will lose this battle? I wonder if aphids will overpopulate the earth? I wonder if humans are overpopulating the earth?

When are there to many? At what point is there not enough resources to feed them all? When will they kill the very thing that is feeding them? I always find myself preaching that all living things are just as important as the next, and we need to stop the wars and end the suffering. Then squish, another entire family of aphids smashed between my fingers… Are all living things just as important?

When the air is polluted, the water is poisoned and the dirt is depleted of nutrients, then what? When everyone has asthma, cancer, and malnutrition then what?

Wouldn’t it be nice if aphids learned to live sustainably with the plants they infest? If there was only a way to raise there consciousness… What if they could calculate how fast the plant grows, how much to eat, how many offspring to produce? Maybe even find a way to produce a nutrient that helps the plant instead of hurt it? Hmmm…

Wouldn’t it be nice.