Nine Lives artist Lisa Anne Auerbach shares her reflections on Los Angeles, art-making and commuting by bicycle in this weekly blog.
Monday, April 6
I put seeds in dirt back in February and have been keeping them under the grow-lights since then and today I put a few in pots. I'm growing Prudence Purple, San Marzano, Arkansas Traveler and Ceylon tomatoes. Also some hot peppers, basil, and some flowers. I always feel like I'm doing something illegal when I turn on the grow-lights. Sometimes we shop for organic fertilizer or bug killer at the hydroponic supply shop not too far from here. Their displays feature mostly tomatoes, but I don't think that's the crop most of their customers are growing. That they have the best selection of natural and organic products makes sense, and I like shopping at an independent retailer. Our very local store down the way has some growers working at the counter too, though not such a fabulous selection of arcane organic stuff. I remember one time going in and being so impressed with the young man who was working behind the counter. He had such a delicate sensibility for gardening and we talked a bit about his greenhouse and his organic fertilizer habits. It wasn't until he suggested I buy some product that helps your plants form bigger buds that I understood that he was not growing lavender. In times of "economic crisis" I'm curious to see if the cash crops of urban gardeners expand. In the second place I lived after I moved to Los Angeles, back in 1992, my landlord was a farmer. My bathroom looked out over the garden and there were times of the year the reek was so strong it would invade my apartment. Sometimes it wafted out to the street. It was an idyllic place to call home, but eventually they sold the place and moved to New Mexico.