Monday, April 22, 2013

Raising a Foodie: Appreciating Endangered Food Plants

How do you raise a locovore foodie? By introducing them to growing early. When you rent, an easily accessible plot of land can be challenging to find. At The Station, our options are limited to the indoors; there's no garden on the property. But we're going for it anyway. This spring Gates will be helping me grow an Herb garden and strawberries.
Now we're not going to grow just any strawberries. In high school, I passionately followed early heirloom seed collection efforts. So, when I saw Leah Gauthier's project to bring back the Marshall strawberry, a strawberry that used to be grown here in California extensively until the 1960s when it was passed over for higher yield varietals, I was in. Rather, we were in. Gates just doesn't know it yet.
Spreading Marshall Strawberries Across the US
Now I haven't grown strawberries indoors before. When I lived in Santa Clara, I grew six square feet of strawberries in raised beds. I carefully spaced six plants in a two foot by three foot area. The first year the birds got most of the berries before I could. The next year, the six square feet was filled with plants, the original six and runners. I placed netting over the berries, but the squirrels got the berries.
With our indoor garden, I'm looking forward to not having to fight with birds and squirrels over fresh berries. The flip sides are many. Getting watering right; you don't want the soil to dry out, but you don't want the roots to get too wet and rot. Making sure the plants don't get root bound. So, wish us luck. I'll be chronicling our adventures here on the blog and posting any pre-K gardening activities my sister and I develop for Gates.
Got any tips for growing strawberries indoors?
Leah still has some Marshall strawberry plants available. If you want to try something a little different, why not try helping bring back a food plant from near extinction?
Happy Earth Day!
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Credits: All layouts designed by and first image taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. Marshall Strawberry logo designed by and photo of Marshall strawberry plant taken by Leah Gauthier.