starting a garden

sharing and caring :^)

I feel it is in my nature to nurture. My students, my loved ones, plants and animals – something in me is called to stewardship and care. So it’s only natural that I turn to gardening as spring makes its slow approach.

Like perhaps many people in this corner of the web, I am highly aware of solarpunk. While I may not be able to make a solar-powered website or start a community garden, I want to do my part by growing my own food. If all goes well, I hope to harvest bell peppers, eggplants, and mini tomatoes this summer, along with a few other herbs and greens. It’s not easy working with limited space and trying to keep my energy usage down, but it’s certainly possible.

Japanese produce is often expensive and almost always wrapped in plastic (with the exception of daikon radish and some fruits). It’s my hope that growing some of my own produce will help to reduce my plastic usage and save me some money, while also helping to feed my coworkers if I get a good yield. And above all else, well, I simply need to take care of something.

Instead of traditional soil growing, however, I am going with hydroponics instead. I debated aquaponics, but because I want a lot of plants and another relocation is almost certain, I decided against it.1 I’ll be growing in various containers: so far, I have a 20L pickling bucket, a 10L IP alcohol tank from my school’s storage room, and a variety of used glass jars and plastic bottles I’ve found or bought. To keep energy usage to a minimum, I’m going to start with the Kratky method based on instructions from Bucket Hydroponics; essentially, I put a seedling in a net pot, and the net pot in a hole in my container, which is filled with nutrient solution. As the roots soak up water, the level drops and exposes parts of the roots to oxygen through the air. The only maintenance I need to do is topping off the water once in a while.

Given that I’ve never done this before, I anticipate false starts and failures galore. My tomatoes may wither, my basil may wilt. I may crack open the lid to find browning, slimy roots. But they may also grow and thrive! Only time will tell…

  1. In the future, I’d like to try aquaponics, which seems to me more sustainable than buying hydroponic nutrient solution. Not to mention that hydroponic nutrients are often sourced through extractive and environmentally unfriendly means. ↩︎

「長い旅行に必要なのは大きなカバンじゃなく、口ずさめる一つの歌さ。」 ースナフキン
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