Thursday, September 30, 2010

Earthbox Update - Week Twenty-Four: Baby Beans!

I've been wondering a lot lately about the nitty-gritty details of how exactly a flower becomes a vegetable. I get that it's all stages, but how, precisely, do petals become pepper skins? How do pretty pink blossoms become beans?

Still not sure...but it sure is happening!

A tiny little baby bean
Then I started thinking, these beans are supposed to be 45 days to harvest...they should be bigger than this. I mean, no pressure because I'm still in awe that plants can produce fruit at all, given that they consume only sunshine and rain (or in the case of this inadvertent gardener, water from my kitchen sink and Algoflash), but still...where's the bean?

Upon closer inspection, which required significant intrusion into their personal space (it was the flora equivalent of going to the gyno for the dreaded annual female exam as I lifted their leaves and poked around underneath), I found there are beans a plenty! Not quite ready for picking, but growing impressively nonetheless!

How was this guy been hiding from me? Maybe because unless you're looking, a bean looks like a bean-plant stem!
In other gardening news, it appears tomato season is nearly at an end as leaves slowly crumple up and turn brown. But that hasn't stopped the Earthbox from producing another 1.83 lbs. this week.

And in Pepper Land, Carmen is still going strong, with another five reds ready for picking and seven greens in the pipeline. (Pipeline?! Yikes...apparently, you can take the girl out of the corporate world...but you can't take the corporate out of the girl. Need more yogic analogy!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

An Inadvertent Yoga Model

Guess who got to show off the lovely new Lotuspad yoga mats? Yup--you guessed it! I'm trying to contain my excitement and play it cool, but I can't--I'm super excited to be involved with this small, start-up company that believes in creating eco-friendly, and, OK yes, beautiful yoga gear.

Being a model newbie, I had no idea what to expect. But working with Annie Pickert of Hazel Imagery was easy and fun. She definitely knew what she was looking for in terms of background, light, angle, and image...which made my part easy. Well, as easy as holding various poses for 2+ hours without a break can be. Let's just say that after holding any pose for over five minutes, my arm/leg/whatever supporting body part was literally shaking with effort, and I definitely got quite a workout :)

Honestly, though, the whole thing was really awesome. I love photography and I love being outside (especially on a beautiful sunny day), and I've been known to put up with yoga on really, it was a dream come true.

It's also cool to collaborate with a small, local company whose mission I support and believe in. And in terms of the mats themselves? Check out the stylin' color combos (I'm especially partial to the orange/pink), the cool imprint patterns, and, of course, the hot yoga model. Even better, notice that Lotuspad yoga mats are made of a super soft (I'll even go so far as to say velvety) material which is called TPE (thermoplastic elastomer). TPE is a newly developed and patented material that is PVC/latex-free, takes less energy to manufacture than standard yoga mats, and will biodegrade in a landfill or hot compost. Owner and founder of Lotuspad Katy Downey also points out that PVC is a known human carcinogen, is hugely polluting to manufacture and dispose of, and yoga mats made from it never biodegrade.

If you wanted to get all yogic about it, you could see this as an example of the principle of ahimsa, non-harm (the first and most important niyama, or no-no, in Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras," the foundational text of yoga). These mats create no-harm to the environment or to us. And unlike some other eco-friendly mats (ahem, you know who you are), they are non-harmful to your wallet at $42/each (plus a 10% discount courtesy of moi, use "SaraD" at checkout).

You can read more on the Lotuspad site, but in the meantime, check out some of my favorite shots from the shoot and see more at

The pink side of the "Radiant" Eco Yoga Mat

Three-legged dog on the blue side of the "Balance" eco yoga mat
Probably my fav! Nice shot, Annie!
Lastly, lest you think I'm getting all greedy and grabby and violating the yoga code (definitely not cool and in direct conflict with the Sutras), I'd like to clarify that I received no monetary compensation for this project. :)

Earthbox Update - Week Twenty-Three: They Just Keep Coming

You know that expression, "When it rains, it pours?" Well for this urban gardener, when tomatoes come in, they pour in--2.45# from the Earthbox and .30 from the traditional potted method. And then they keep growing! Ditto on the influx on beautiful baby bell peppers!

After picking all these ripe beauties, I glanced over at the baby beans, and was stunned to notice this beautiful pink flower. Now, I'm new to bean-growing, so pardon my excitement, but I can't wait to see this lovely bud turn into a green bean!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Earthbox Update - Week Twenty-Two: This Just In!

I waited and waited. I watched and I watched. And, after an eternity (or really, just 21 weeks), they are! My first real harvest of tomatoes--and two gorgeous Carmens (those sassy red peppers) to boot.

In terms of the Earthbox v. traditional potted growing method contest...the tomatoes on the left are all from the Earthbox and weighed in 5.16 pounds. The four on the right are from the traditional growing method and weighed in at .87 pound. Hmmm. Looks like we have a clear winner. (And just to refresh your memory, both plants were the same size, type, planted at the same time etc.) Kudos, Earthbox!

OK. Sure they're simply gorgeous, but how do they TASTE? Well, I can state with utmost honesty that these are some of the very best fresh tomatoes I've ever had in my entire tomato-consuming existence. And while I'd like to credit my outstanding gardening skills, in reality, it's probably just that Black Krims are some tasty toms!

Vine to Table: Sun Gold Cherries
Vine to Table: Black Krims
Beautiful Carmen
OK--only a true gardening geek would get obsessed with a pepper and their shadow...guilty!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Earthbox Update - Week Twenty-One: From Flower to Fruit

Nature is amazing. I know it's been said before, by me and many others, but nature is just so freaking cool.

On a third-floor ledge in the middle of the city, with only a plastic pot to hold their roots, consuming only water, sunshine, (and Algoflash organic liquid plant food), these guys are able to produce flowers which eventually transform themselves into fruit. It's just so crazy and cool!

And while I'm still not exactly sure how petals become peppers, I got a few shots of these in-progress. So pretty!

If only we could be so productive, while consuming so little!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Earthbox Update - Week Twenty: Labor Day Weekend, But Summer's Still Going Strong

It's Labor Day weekend, usually signifying the end of summer and a farewell to wearing white jeans (sniff, sniff). Acknowledging this, the weather's turned from upper 90s to a more manageable mid-70s, but the blue skies and sunshine remain. And for that, this inadvertent yogini's garden thanks you, weather gods, because all these green tomatoes and peppers need continued sun to continue ripening.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I find the zebra-like striations as peppers and tomatoes turn from green to ripe-red absolutely lovely.

Big and beautiful and starting to ripen
Zebra-like striations from green to red - so lovely!

These red, horn-shaped Carmens look spicy but aren't...

My first sun gold cherries...quite a coup! From a two-inch tall seedling I found growing in the outdoor carpet with two tiny leaves to abig, tall fruit-producing plant! Evolutionarily primed for survival? These seeds are worth saving!