Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bringing back the victory garden, indoors

I've been considering how I could go about growing my own herbs for some time now, even before FLG suggested it. It wouldn't really be a move towards actual cost savings in the way not washing my hair would, since I don't currently buy fresh herbs very often. It would a kind of hypothetical cheapness, since I could be paying more if I were paying anything. Plus, I like projects, and basil.

The problem is two-fold, however. First, the garden needs to be indoors so that I can eat basil all year. Second, it needs to be cat-proof. I've considered two options in this direction:
1. I could grow it under artificial lights in my closet. The downside of this is that the LED lamps cost at least $50 (not thrifty), and also that I couldn't use my closet for more useful ends, like clothing storage. Plus, I'd have to constantly explain to people about the "herbs" I'm growing in there.
2. A chicken-wire covering for the plants so that the sun can reach them, but the cat's teeth can't. Chicken wire is only a few bucks, so the cost wouldn't be a huge issue, but it's possible that space constraints in my new apartment will be. How can I convince my roommates that the best use of half our living room floor is for a chicken-wire domed indoor farm?

On a related note, I was recently hunting for Amazon cart filler to get my order up to $25 and qualify for free shipping, and I realized this is always a bad idea to do at the last minute when you just need to stick something--anything--in there to avoid a shipping charge. I typically select ridiculous things like cat toys and muffin pan liners because I don't have time to take stock of all the little things I actually do need. So, to remedy this problem, I started a shopping list on Amazon dedicated specifically to cart filler items that I need generally but not urgently. Now, whenever I think, "Oh, I could really use an X at times like these," I add it to the list. So that next time I need to add $4.70 to my cart, I will remember to buy a tape measure or a flashlight or, now, chicken wire for my basil farm.


WhatKathyDid said...

Basil is a pain. Thyme and mint are a breeze.

Window ledges preclude the need for carpets of mud in your flat.

Would your cat pee in a small pot the window ledge (I presume pee is what you are worried about)?

Perhaps you could plant catnip in another pot to distract it.

Miss Self-Important said...

No, based on past behavior, I'm concerned he will eat the contents of the pot, or just knock the whole thing over and march away with glee. Window ledges haven't really resolved that situation in the past. However, if I can attach the chicken wire from the ledge to the window and stick the pots in between, that might work. I'm just worried that the windows will be really cold most of the year and the plants will freeze.

blogs! said...

You could use this to fill up your shopping cart...

WhatKathyDid said...

I reckon the plants will be OK if they're on a sunny ledge, particularly mint (do you even like mint?). Rosemary will also be fine. If it gets seriously freezing, you can bring them in for a bit, and your flatmates will perhaps put up with chicken wire for a few days. Or apparently put them in bubble wrap, although I've never tried this myself.

Herbs cost about $1 a pot, so worth an experiment at least.

PG said...

I highly recommend Amazon Prime if you are a heavy Amazon user. Two-day shipping on almost everything, and can be used to ship to addresses other than your own, so perfect for last-minute gifts as well. I buy everything from my office supply of Multigrain Cheerios, to my gym supply of socks, to my dad's birthday gift on Amazon, and it is so nice not to have to worry about shipping costs. Worth the $80 a year, especially if you live with someone and do a joint Prime account for your home address.

One of my friends in college grew basil on her window -- I don't think it needs to take up that much space. She always seemed to have basil to spare even with only a single plant. She was in VA, which probably isn't as cold in winter as where you'll be, but unless your windows are really poorly constructed, your plant shouldn't freeze sitting by the window.

Blogger said...

You might be qualified to get a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.