Early Morning Open Thread

Sometimes the only way to win is not to play…

Also, after reading this article, I spent twenty minutes racking my aging brain to recall the name of a 1970s sci-fi “classic”:

When it was built three years ago, the company’s first 24-acre greenhouse in Madison was already the largest building in Maine. This second connected greenhouse, completed last year, brought the total area under glass to some 42 acres, or roughly the size of 32 football fields. Even in the depths of winter, a million tomatoes ripen indoors to harvest each week, snipped from their vines by workers in T-shirts and shorts.
“It’s medium sized,” said Tim de Kok, one of the company’s head growers. At his last job, Mr. de Kok managed a 40-acre chunk of a 318-acre monster in Arizona. The center of Canada’s greenhouse industry, the area around Leamington, Ontario, has some 1,600 covered acres, roughly equivalent to putting Manhattan, south of Houston Street, under glass.
“In the U.S., it’s hard to be competitive without a 20-acre minimum block,” Ms. Cook said.
The plants here at Backyard Farms number about 550,000. Each consists of two plants — the vines of new varieties, constantly tweaked for flavor, color, freshness and myriad other traits; and the roots of another, grafted together at a thickly scarred “V” near the base.
One half grows down into a sterile dirt-substitute made from fibers spun out of volcanic basalt, absorbing a custom hydroponic cocktail mixed by Mr. de Kok. The other half stretches toward the glass ceiling, growing a foot every week along a nine-foot length of twine. When the plants reach the top, workers reel more twine from the spool, shift the entire row horizontally and band each vine to its neighbor so that by the end of a plant’s life it might grow parallel to the concrete floor for as many as 20 or 30 feet, a dozen vines tangled together like garden hoses, before each makes its own graceful turn upward.
And while no one would mistake a Backyard Beauty for a tomato picked from a backyard in late summer — it is not as tender and its flavor is not as complex — it is juicier and has much more flavor than what you’d find in your deli sandwich.
“They don’t make a tomato that my grandmother would have liked,” Mr. Papadopoulos said. “They make a tomato that my son would like or my daughter would like.”

Of course, it also reminded me that I haven’t yet ordered either the elite gourmet boutique tomato seedlings or the grow-light kit that would let me start seeds in a household with two south-facing sunny windows and three cats.

Anybody else planning their summer gardens — or even starting them yet?

Gardening Question

Along one of the areas I walk Lily is a patch of wild mint (and before the jokes start, no, “wild mint” is not code for marijuana) that I want to transplant. It is some of the strongest stuff I have ever smelled or tasted- a deep, rich green leaf with so much oil that just touching it and your hands smell like mint for hours. Far stronger than any of the stuff I grew in my herb garden and far better than anything you can get in the store. I just love it in my tea, and pick a little every time I walk by it.

At any rate, how would I go about transplanting it? Can plants get “soil shock” or whatever it is called if you move them from one soil to another (like fish when you move them to new aquariums)? I know my dad used to be able to grow things in a vase of water and replant them, but I never figured out the specifics. Or am I over-thinking this and I should just dig it up and throw it in the ground where I want it?

Open Thread

Here is a particularly fun gardening post at the Great Orange Satan.

*** Update ***

I’m feeling ornery:

Let the 70’s/funk youtube wars begin.

It is on.

Indoor Garden?

I’ve become quite accustomed to having fresh herbs at hand- it is so nice to be able to just go to the fridge, pull out some basil that you have grown, picked, washed, and stored, and use it- no more going to the store and paying exorbitant amounts for fresh herbs. I’m thinking about trying to grow them year round inside.

What all would it take? Could I just use one of those window planters and a grow lamp? Is that all I would need? What size lamp?

Sunday Night Open Thread

Saw this on the way to the greenhouse and knew it needed to be recorded for posterity:

The friend I was with claims that these are actually quite popular and actually have more to do with knitting than eating tasty meat.

Got to the greenhouse and could not make a decision. I put in mint, catnip, two types of basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, lemon balm (by request!), parsley, oregano, and cilantro at the garden at my brother’s house, but I was going to put in a planter at the apartment, yet when I got there I could not make up my mind. Should I just grow some basil and sage and thyme and parsely and cilantro at home, since I will use those most and it would be convenient, or should I grow stuff I don’t have growing that might have different light needs and would be higher maintenance at the apartment, since I can move the planter? I need some lavender, too.

Your thoughts?

Also, I rented the first four episodes of Chuck.