I’m Gardening Food to Eat: I Forgot The Eat Part

Posted on Feb 8 2011 - 3:20am by Mike Lieberman

The main reason for me writing this blog and being active in the social media world is to encourage you to start growing your own food. I show that I could do it on my fire escape in NYC and now my balcony in LA.

It’s been 9-10 months since I’ve moved to LA from NYC. During that time I’ve had a total of one balcony salad. Yes, one. Uno.

The other day my girlfriend, Anita, called me out and asked when we were going to eat off of it. She is all for not supporting Whole Foods and supplementing our weekly trips to the farmers market in other ways, but the balcony wasn’t cutting it.

It’s hard to argue that. I mean it’s been one salad since I moved here.

The reason that I haven’t been able to eat more off of the balcony is because I’ve been focusing more on documenting everything instead of tending to the garden. I forgot the eating part.

I know what needs to be done. I need to do some succession planting, amend the soil and water the plants. Most importantly, I need to walk my talk. I’ve become one of those people that talks a lot and doesn’t back it up. I hate those people.

The containers have been harvested and a big salad was made. Now I’m going to come up with a better plan, so that Anita and I can eat more regularly off of the balcony.

The challenge for me has been laid out and I’ve accepted it. I hope that you will hold me accountable during this time.

I’m gardening food to eat. Please don’t let me forget that.

31 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Amandarhowe February 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm -

    I have no doubt that you can do it. Gardening theory and practice are tough to negotiate. We know what we should be doing, but we spend a lot more time thinking and talking about it than doing it, in an effort not to screw it up. I myself have been caught up in this many times, and have a lot of hungry spells come with it. My motto is: grow with your mind, but plant with your stomach.

    Maybe do a weekly post that documents what meals you’ve created through your harvest! Nothing is more encouraging to the vegetable gardener than seeing the delicious end result of the labor.

  2. Mike Lieberman February 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm -

    True dat. Good insight and point. I’ll need to work it in somehow.

  3. Leah Stoltz February 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm -

    great point Mike. I’m guilty of it as well, garden, garden, garden.. then leave peas there to die? wtf! I left beets in the ground, cause I was out doing other things, or I’d go buy lettuce instead of taking care of mine..letting it bolt… I’m guilty of talking.. and not doing as well. I think we all are sometimes, luckily you got a loved one to help you get back on track. enjoy your salad!

  4. Dirtandmartinis February 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm -

    I love this confession. We’ll hold you to it Mike. Eat those yummies!

  5. Mike Lieberman February 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm -

    Thanks. I’m really not sure what I am waiting for…

  6. Mike Lieberman February 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm -

    You best girl.

  7. Anonymous February 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm -

    Good job makin salad πŸ™‚ Sometimes I forget my green children aren’t just for watering and looking pretty and don’t eat anything for a few days… But then I remember and start gleaning greens again

  8. Mike Lieberman February 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm -

    Gleaning greens. I like it.

  9. Barnyardproducts February 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm -

    Nice blog stumbleupon you

  10. Mike Lieberman February 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm -

    Why thank you very much.

  11. Alison kerr February 9, 2011 at 1:13 am -

    Shame on you Mike! But confession is good for the soul.

    I can’t say I’ve eaten as much food from my garden as I could do, but I know it was definitely more than one salad last growing season. And since I brought my herbs inside for the winter – something I’d not have done if I weren’t writing about it – I’ve used them quite a lot. Rosemary is my favorite!

    And my family has shared, more than they wanted to, in the harvest of all the lentil sprouts I grew and experimented with while writing Simple Sprouts. So, lots of eating here, but there could still be more.

    I’ll be checking up on you Mike. I’m off to order the mushroom garden (canceled my fruit and veg delivery order this week, so now I have a little spare grocery money)!

  12. Mike Lieberman February 9, 2011 at 6:29 am -

    Nice. What’s your favorite rosemary recipe? I saw a lemonade drink that I was thinking of making using rosemary.

    Have you ever used red lentils? I saw them at the co-op and was curious.

    Enjoy your mushroom garden!

  13. Tee Riddle February 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm -

    I know what you are saying Mike. I had that same problem last year. I spent so much time writing and taking pictures about gardening that it didn’t leave much time for me to actually maintain my vegetables. The end result was an awful looking garden by the end of July.

    It can be difficult to manage the garden and a blog about the garden at times.

    I’m with you this year – I vow to put the garden first, and write about it when I can. Thanks for putting it out there!

  14. Mike Lieberman February 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm -

    It’s funny how you start to get the mentality of “I can’t harvest that because I need to post about it and don’t want to do that now.”

  15. Neven February 10, 2011 at 3:45 am -

    I did the same thing last winter when I planted my first container garden. I was so busy fawning over it I forgot to eat it, it’s too funny that this happened to you.

  16. Mike Lieberman February 10, 2011 at 7:01 am -

    Ohh look at the pretty colors. I gotta keep this to show everyone..doh.

  17. Danielle February 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm -

    I’m entering my 5th year of micro-farming. Growing your own food is probably the best gift you can give yourself. I have a canning closet and freezer stocked full of my organic homegrown produce. During Spring, Summer and Fall I do nothing but eat, sleep and talk food (with results to back it up). My OneGreenTomato blog tends to get pushed aside because most of my time is spent tending my food. My readers understand (as should yours) that during the “full throttle” growing and harvest season time is sparse because your doing what you talk about, growing food. Keep that as your focus.

    Like you, my grains and flours are purchased in bulk which brings me to gluten free flour. Why not bake your own bread and eliminate another plastic source? Baking bread is a bit time consuming at first, but like growing food, it is a learning process that becomes so rewarding!

    I really enjoy your blog and I hope to see you hold yourself more accountable and walk the talk! πŸ™‚

  18. Mike Lieberman February 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm -

    I will certainly be held accountable to my words.

    Baking bread is something that I will look into. It’s something that I’ve been interested in for a while, but have never actually done. This would be the perfect opportunity…thanks for that reminder.

  19. AuntEmsUrbanInn+Farm February 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm -

    Another way to “farm” in the city, even if you don’t have a balcony, is to grow your own sprouts indoors. All you need are some recycled large glass jars, some cheesecloth to drape over the lid – and the seeds – and you are in biz. Sprouts are nutritionally dense, and you can grab a bunch for salads and toppings (yum!). You do have to keep them moist to sprout. I buy my seeds in bulk so it doesn’t break the bank, here’s my source: http://bit.ly/eS1HpZ

    I’ve got my own micro-urban farm here in SF and my neighbors don’t let me forget about my crops! I can see the drool marks in front of my house around plum jam time.

    Great blog and keep up the good green work!

  20. Mike Lieberman February 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm -

    Most def. Have some broccoli and lentil sprouts growin right now.

    I’ll have some plum jam. Thank you πŸ˜‰

  21. Alison kerr February 10, 2011 at 8:42 pm -

    Favorite rosemary recipe here is roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary. They’re just like your butternut squash recipe, but I include rosemary, salt and pepper. They cook quicker than potatoes or squash (about 40 minutes or so at 400F). I really have to grow sweet potatoes and winter squash this year!

    Red lentils are fabulous for soup or to make a tomato and lentil sauce for pasta. They are also great for a lentil pate. They don’t need any soaking and cook up quickly. Use them with anything acidic or citrusy, such as lemon, lime, rosemary, or tomatoes; it’s a good flavor match. I only started cooking with brown/green lentils when I moved to the USA (from Scotland) because the red lentils are harder to find here.

    I also tried sprouting red lentils just to see if it would work. It did – kind of. They don’t have any seed cases so there were many “broken” lentils which failed to grow. I’d not recommend it.

  22. Alison kerr February 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm -

    Oh yeah, forgot to say that I’ve been emailing with the mushroom kit company. Their website is not showing complete security on the payment screen and I won’t enter my credit card info unless they fix that. They are being responsive, but I’ve not ordered yet because I’m waiting to hear the solution from them.

  23. Mike Lieberman February 10, 2011 at 9:32 pm -

    Thanks for the recipe idea. Keep me updated about the mushroom company.

  24. Pariah February 23, 2011 at 12:31 am -

    Have you considered growing edible weeds? They grow like, well, weeds and are far more nutritious than regular garden plants. I have them in my garden and love them! Think Dandelion, Lambs Quarter, Plantain, Sorrel, Chickweed, etc. They’ll all great in smoothies and yummy in salads. You can also make herbal vinegars out of them and get your vitamins.

    I love what you’re doing! Keep up the good work! And don’t fret about the not eating, it happens to the best of us!

  25. Mike Lieberman February 23, 2011 at 3:46 am -

    Good call on the edible weeds. I love em too. Should definitely start growing some.

  26. Julie May 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm -

    I bake bread all the time. There is nothing difficult to it, and a good stand mixer makes it so much easier. Bread machines work too, just don’t buy the pre-packaged bread mixes. I buy yeast in one pound packages, flours in bulk, and then add herbs from the garden when I want a really tasty bread. Rosemary is one of my favorites.

  27. Julie May 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm -

    Eating is the best part of the garden, Mike. How is it going now?

  28. DA Strasser May 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm -

    We have eating from the garden now for several months…. the best part, besides growing them of course. πŸ™‚

  29. Sabrina Smith Saxon May 8, 2011 at 3:51 am -

    I know this delicate balance. I totally understand. I am here to remind you that you are gardening food to eat! but we also enjoy your documenting it for us as well. I hope to do more documenting as I work on my various projects. Setting up a 3-bin composting system is one of my next projects as well as setting up a recycling system with my two oldest grandkids … We hope to start planting our garden soon, too. Although for now we have much space, I do not know yet where I will be living once I find a job and get a place of my own so I’m very interested in urban gardening since I may be doing that myself very soon as well. Sorry for the long comment. I’ll shut up now. Carry on! LOVE LOVE LOVE

  30. Mike Lieberman May 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm -

    Going well. Better than before. Still learning, but have been getting chard and mint from the balcony.

  31. Mike Lieberman May 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm -

    Thanks Sabrina!

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