Tuesday, April 10, 2007


A month ago, I opened up my tiny greenhouse that had not been heated since early February. Lo and behold! The seeds I had planted in January and abandoned in February, were thriving. Lettuce, onions, and a forest of chickweed volunteers. I built a large salad and planted more seeds. As I mentioned in an earlier post, chickweed cut fine with scissors adds an amazingly wonderful taste and texture to salads.

Now there are collards, spinach and new lettuce coming up from my recently planted seeds. In three weeks, I will peel the plastic off the green house and replant. By then, the alley foraging should be getting off to a great start. Between the greenhouse, garden and alleys, I get to fill up on fresh greens for free.

For me, there is something so incredibly satisfying about the ease of growing things when all you have to do is add water. Oh sure, there are a few bugs munching the tender lettuce. But, unless they are hogging the leaf, it doesn't seem to hurt the taste or aesthetics. I like to think of it as sharing.

The steamy ambiance of a greenhouse on a blustery spring day when the wind cuts you like a knife is sublime. A great place to hide out, meditate or dream.

Last fall, I hung a piece of 2x4 on my fence with holes for the PVC pipe ribs , attached some uprights, threw plastic over it and called it a greenhouse. Oh yes, I added a little door (it's behind the tree).

It is an amazingly simple and affordable home project for around $30, counting the seed. A little $30 ceramic heater keeps it warm through the brutal cold. I call it "going to Florida" when I open that door in an icy gale and tuck myself inside for a spell. It somehow makes winter seem more optional, being able to take a break from it. And the salads, oh how they melt in your mouth and lift your winter weary spirits.