This past weekend, Trillian and I picked up our holiday gift to each other. This has been a habit of ours for many years now; we pick something out for the house or our mutual enjoyment and call it a Christmas gift. Some years it's very practical--I think we considered some repairs to our house our present the first year we lived there. This year, it's a bit of a luxury, but something that promises to be useful too.
Our special purchase? The Aerogarden.*
It's a fully self-contained, hydroponic growing system. The makers have taken out all of the guesswork and made it very difficult to mess up. In four weeks, we should have a full garden of herbs, sitting in easy reach on our kitchen counter. Seven different herbs. No dirt, no pesticides. Once the herbs are done, we'll pop in the salad greens pods and have two to three months of fresh lettuce. I'm a little excited.
Back at our old house, we had a wonderful herb garden and would go clip off bits of thyme, basil, parsley, rosemary, and several others during the warmer months. Since the herb mix for our Aerogarden does not include rosemary, I picked up a rosemary "tree" at Loblaws as well. It makes things feel a little bit more like home. Added bonus, it's shaped like a Christmas tree, so it introduces miniature holiday cheer.
Another benefit we've discovered is that the grow lights add a lot of bright light to our living area. We've got one of those open plan kitchen/dining area/ living room setups, so the light from the kitchen counter reaches into every corner of our most used room. I have some hopes this will help with our seasonal affective disorder; both Trillian and I seemed to suffer from it to a degree we'd never experienced before last winter.
I spent part of my afternoon sitting at the dining room table to do my grading. The growlight illuminated my work while the scent of rosemary kept me alert.
I'm very excited about the fresh produce we'll soon have--it won't be certifiably organic, but it will be completely free from the things that concern me about conventional produce. But in the meantime, it's already earning its keep.
*In Canada, you can get it online from Golda's Kitchen or Aviva. Golda's Kitchen is based in Mississauga, so it's pretty easy to get to from Toronto. I should point out, however, that I got the last one in stock this weekend, so it may be a bit before others are available.