Getting high: Lounge room gardening at altitude
Posted on 22 April 2013
Recently we posted this photograph of our lounge room garden on facebook where you can see some of the plants we are growing indoors. In addition to these, we are also growing more tatsoi, mizuna, spinach, rosemary, laurel tree, oregano, thyme, parsley, mint and some cucumber seedlings have started to take off!
As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t produce enough to make any huge contribution to our food supply but we enjoy doing what we can experimenting growing and seed saving indoors, at an altitude of 3,200 m (La Paz, Bolivia)! Our lounge room is perfectly situated to make the most of the sun’s movements throughout the day, meaning we have a wonderful little microclimate where we can grow food that has no chance outdoors. Actually, I miss growing outdoors – growing in containers is quite a challenge – trying to create biodiversity and encourage beneficial insects is nearly impossible (especially at this altitude), keeping the delicate balance of moisture in pots can be trying and building soil in pots isn’t easy, but it’s a challenge I enjoy. We have set up a compost bin in the small communal patch of grass downstairs (along with a pumpkin patch) and we have a worm farm in our outside stairwell that converts all of our food scraps into humus filled earth to help us in this process.
Perhaps the thing I enjoy most about our little garden is that I see its beauty all the time. When I get up in the morning, still in my PJs, and sit in our lounge room for a coffee it’s my perfect little oasis where I can observe their changes and nurture them regularly – watering, mulching, staking, harvesting, spraying garlic water for aphids and of course talking to them. Never before has the concept of zones in permaculture been so evident! Here we are with our zone 1 plants in our zone 0 and the benefits of regular observation aren’t only for the plants, but for me too – they bring such peace.