My COVID Isolation Dilemma
Do I Get a Puppy or an Indoor Garden?
by Bonnie Bauer | Member, Wellness Committee
When COVID-19 struck, I knew that I would be spending a lot more time at home. I began to feel a need to nurture. Should I get a new puppy? That would definitely keep me busy. However, I knew that we love to travel, visit grandchildren, and often we would be gone for long stretches of time. If life ever returned to normal, a puppy might not be a good fit. Furthermore, our middle daughter decided that she would begin raising Shih‑Poo puppies. Who needs your own puppy when you can just borrow one for a while?
I soon became enthralled with another interest. A friend had purchased an aeroponic system and was growing her own fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs indoors year-round with special LED grow lights. What a great idea during a pandemic! I could grow my own greens and visit the store less often. I love salads and was looking forward to having fresh produce all year long. Also, I wouldn’t throw so much away, as my produce would always be fresh.
I placed my order and was so pumped when my tower and lights arrived! It was a much better decision than a puppy, which would have required a lot of training. I didn’t even need a green thumb! I watched a video on how to assemble the tower and was set to go. I’m proud to say I even did it all myself.
Although I used the seed starter tray to germinate my seeds, I found out later that it was just as easy to start the seeds right in the tower.
The tower holds approximately twenty gallons of water when filled. We live on an acreage and have well water, so this added a bit of challenge to keep the water pH balanced. However, I found using an RV filter and letting the water sit out in an open container for twenty-four hours helps lower the pH naturally. Usually about every three weeks, I add ten gallons of water to the reservoir with two hundred millilitres each of two mineral blends that provide nutrients. As a final step, I plug in the pump and the lights, which are both set up with timers.
Eventually, I’ll be able to go away on a three-week holiday, and my garden will not need any attention. I might have a jungle when I return, though, if I don’t find someone to harvest the crop while we’re away. I am thankful I have a friend who will gladly check on our house and harvest the produce.
My husband says it looks like an alien has landed in our house in the evening. One morning when I came to check my plants, he had flipped the lights out far from the tower and left a note saying “E.T., come home.” He often teases me that E.T. gets more attention than he does. When I first got it, every morning I’d rush out to see how much the plants had grown overnight. It has definitely kept me entertained throughout this past year and provided me with a lot of fresh produce. I also have not had to clean up any little puddles on the floor or worry about chewed-up furniture. I think E.T. was the best choice for me!
A retired elementary music teacher, Bonnie Bauer lives with her husband Stan on an acreage just outside of Vermilion. With a year’s experience of growing, she reports that her favourite thing to grow on her tower is kale.