just growing plants


My broccoli on a rainy day – pretty and tasty

Back in the 15th century Nicholas of Cusa carefully weighed a growing plant with such accuracy he was able to determine that air had weight. I can’t imagine the attention to detail and precision required to do that – I just grow plants for their own sake, many to eat and some because they are pretty.

Most of my plants I start from seeds. Last spring, it became clear that the household little person was curious about, but not gentle with, my seedlings – my little onion were ripped out, spread around and even consumed. So, this year, all the best sunny locations are off limits. A cold-frame moved to the deck now hosts rows of brassica and alum seedlings and my north-facing office now has a makeshift growing centre in an old aquarium.

The aquarium’s seals are shot, it can’t be trusted to hold water without a major overhaul so it has been sitting outside waiting for a purpose. I’m not sure when my husband got the aquarium, but when we met it hosted a colourful array of shubunkins – fish that have now moved on to our water barrel to ensure we aren’t breeding mosquitoes. Once drained of water, the tank has hosted two rounds of chicks all of whom are now living in a backyard coop.


My makeshift seed starting system

Early February, I wanted to start seedlings in my dark office but didn’t have a budget for something like this, so I scouted around the house to see what I could find. On its side, the aquarium was perfect – plus we had three aquarium lights, two with full-spectrum blubs. A week after planting, I have a nice assortment of seedlings unfolding their green leaves.