Remember I said I was going to try transplanting my water-only green onions into soil? Well I did transplant two of them into soil, and I also left two of them in the water jar and set them on the windowsill. The windowsill water-only onions grew a lot stronger and longer than they had when they were on top of the fridge. Photosynthesis!
Sadly, the ones I planted in soil withered within a few days. I kept watering them to see if they'd recover, but they couldn't make it. One died immediately, and the other hung on for a bit. Yesterday I transplanted the remaining one into a smaller container that retains more water, but as of this morning, it looks completely dead.
Poor onions. I guess it's time to plant something fun in this strange face cup that I got in Oregon. Suggestions for fun plants to grow into this little guy's hair?
Yesterday, I also decided to plant some nasturtiums, one of my favorite flowers because they're pretty and edible! I have memories of eating nasturtium petals off of the abundant plants growing in my backyard as a child. Like I mentioned a few posts ago, my dad has a very green thumb. Growing up, our backyard was a magical garden with lush green and colors everywhere. Sometime soon I'll post some photos from those days.
I'm so excited to be growing nasturtiums that I planted them all over the place: in the cilantro pot, directly in the ground, in the painted soup cans on the window sill, and in their own smaller pot outside. I can't wait for them to begin growing! I marked the outside in-the-ground nasturtium plantings with colored toothpicks so I will make sure to water where they are.
After all of this wonderful time spent with my plant friends in the morning, I looked at the clock and realized I had 15 minutes to get out the door if I wanted to be on time to the Veggielution work day. Fortunately, I don't wear makeup most days or really care what my hair looks like, so I just threw on some clothes that could get dirty, put contacts in, and grabbed stuff that would keep me from getting sunburned or dehydrated. The bike ride was 30 minutes or so, taking me past San Jose State University and some cute neighborhoods with narrow streets. I always prefer riding under freeways to riding over them, and fortunately the route I chose this time took me under 680/280 instead of over it. After crossing under 680/280 at King Street, the farm entrance appeared on my right, and it transported me into a different world, separated just enough from the hustle and bustle of car traffic.
Veggielution is a 6-acre sustainable farm, complete with education programs, greenhouses, a CSA program, crops of all kinds, and even chickens, that's juxtaposed beneath the over crossings of highways 680/280 and 101. Whenever you look up from whatever you're doing in the soil, you can see the underbelly of a clear symbol of urban life. For this and many other reasons, Veggielution is a unique place. The homepage of their website states, "Everyone deserves to have access to healthy, affordable food. At Veggielution, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to help create a sustainable food system in San Jose, while forging stronger bonds with each other and the community."
When I was little, sitting in the backseat of my parents' car, I would look down upon this plot of land as our car went from highway 101 to 680 on our way home from my aunt's house. I remember seeing a historic-looking barn and open land and wondering what it was and what it used to be. Back then, Veggielution was maybe just an idea in someone's mind, but since 2008, it has been a growing reality of increasing acreage and food production. Learn more about the farm's history here.
Next to the farm at Veggielution is Emma Prusch Park, so there's this entire pocket of land beneath the freeways that's open land, a stark contrast to the urban jungle around it. Years after being that little kid in my parents' car, I find myself staring back up at that overpass with the barn behind me and the open land beneath my feet. I love when pieces of memory slip into place with new information and create a more complete picture of my world.
Dripping in sweat from the mid-afternoon heat, I unloaded my things into the house and assessed what I needed from the store before my dad and step-mom arrived later that day for dinner. I made a list and headed back into the heat on my bicycle with both pannier bags attached. Fortunately, we have a grocery store just down the street, and I was able to get everything on the list, including flowers! I'm fortunate enough to be the owner of two 40 liter pannier bags that can hold a TON of groceries, which don't feel like much weight when they're on my bike rack. I just love physics when it comes to bike weight distribution!
We ate yummy homemade pico de gallo with tortilla chips and fired up the grill for chili/lime/garlic marinaded shrimp and veggies. We also grilled some carne asada (not the most sustainable choice, I know, but we are working on this). I cut up jalapeños, green onion, cilantro (not from our plant sadly), and avocado and put them in little bowls on a serving tray. I love having a diverse range of bowl sizes for serving food! We also had corn and flour tortillas, wild rice, store bought salsa, Cholula hot sauce, and nutritional yeast. Oh, and of course chilled beers and some red wine that my dad and step-mom brought. We ate outside since our kitchen table is too small for four people and because it was beautiful in the backyard. Great conversation, wonderful people, and delicious food--absolutely one of my favorite ways to spend an evening!
His friends were having a party yesterday evening, and originally I'd told them we couldn't go because my dad and step-mom were coming over for dinner. Then I realized that we could probably just head over to the party after they left since their parties usually last long into the night, so we made a plan to surprise Green Guy with a cake and piano-accompanied Happy Birthday singing. I just had to convince him to stay up long enough to make it to a second gathering in the evening. He is working the 5am - 4pm shift this weekend, so I knew it might be challenging to convince him to rally his energy long enough for that. Somehow I was able to do it, so after hugging good bye and saying thank you to my parents for visiting, we drove over to his friends' house.
Ultimately, he figured out that something fishy was going on. His friend pulled me aside at one point to show me the cake, which was suspicious to him. He also said he heard his name being whispered throughout the party. Secretly, he told me later, he had been hoping there would be a surprise party, and that's why he was so willing to go to the party even though he had to get up so early the next morning. Right before the singing and candles and cake, he told me he knew what was going on, but it didn't make it any less fun to sing to him with many of his friends present. I'm so glad we were able to celebrate his birthday with friends and treat him to a surprise cake. It turned out perfectly that he hadn't been there to volunteer earlier in the day since we were able to come up with this plan in secret. Some day I'm going to throw him a real surprise party, and I'll make sure he doesn't have any idea!
Wow, reflecting on my day yesterday makes me incredibly grateful for all of the friends and family in my life. What a full day of meaningful work, great conversations, good food, and really awesome people. Thank you to everyone--plant friends included--who made yesterday so fantastic!
Thanks for reading! If you have any advice on my plant situation described above, please feel free to add a comment!