On the last post, I made a comment about how I am becoming freakishly interested in gardening.
This new hobby is not the most student friendly, since a lot of students are residence-bound, meaning limited space to keep pots of plants around. Many students do not have access to a car, which means we are bound to ride on buses to transport all the nutritious potting soil and fertilizers that are necessary for your plants.
Last weekend, I got my grocery caddie out to go get some groceries for the week. I hadn’t really been eating properly (so much for a balanced lifestyle eh?) last week, and figured I should give myself the luxury of consuming fruits. Consuming fruits is a luxurious activity for me, because most fruits tend to be heavy. The sweet ball of vitamin C in oranges and apples need to be carried from the grocery store to my place, which involves about a 5 minute bus ride and 15minute walk. Hence is the my reason for using my grocery caddie on the special days I decide to consume natural vitamin C.
But due to my craze for gardening, I decided to take a detour and ‘drop by’ the Home Hardware store on Sasamat & 10th. I hadn’t checked out their garden section yet, and so my curiosity led me there quite naturally.
I never ended up going to the grocery store that day, nor did I get the fruity goodness I was hoping to treat myself to. Let’s just say that, instead of purchasing and consuming fruits, I’ve decided to make investments for my future fruit-craving days.
I walked out of the hardware store with the grocery caddie filled with 18 L of potting soil, and a 32 inch windowsill planter. Considering that a litre of water is about a kilogram, and potting soil supposedly contains much denser things than water, I don’t think I need to do the math for you to realize that 18L of soil is quite heavy. But I carried it all the way back home, along with the planter that is about as long as 50% of my height (thank god there’s an elevator in my building!).
Was it worth it?
Oh yes. Now I have a proper planter (I was running out of yogurt containers) that occupies about 40% of my windowsill and keeps me happy every time I look at it.
Anyways, my experience of putting together a small garden in my small studio residence got me wondering about this whole gardening world, and how other people who don’t have the luxury of a backyard, balconies etc. manage to foster their passion (such as people living in residences, apartment buildings etc). That curiosity has led me to a blog called the Life on the Balcony (http://lifeonthebalcony.com) that talks about container gardening in general.
Epic. I got to know so much about container gardening from this blog, and became very much inspired to try out some of the ideas the blogger, Fern Richardson, generously offers for free. For example, did you know you can grow things with these hanging bags? Now, I’m cheap, so I am going to save myself a few bucks and try and make one of these, but that’s another adventure I can chat about later.
So, upon coming across epic gardening blogs that essentially saved me time and money (I still don’t own any gardening books or subscribe to magazines) without asking for anything from me in return (other than the fact that I increased their visitor count I guess), I had a little moment of reminder about the value of blogging as another hobby in itself.
I mean, as academics, we are paid to be here, at a university with the near-supernatural powers of the internet provided to you and an abundance of new and interesting knowledge and ideas in every corner of the campus waiting for you to discover and share. So, why not share the knowledge and ideas you have, especially when it can benefit the readers?
Anyways, I’ve been a blogger for quite some time now, not only for this iMech blog meant for prospective and current UBC students, but for a blog dedicated to the field of roboethics. I had started writing for the roboethics blog (called Roboethics Info Database) precisely because there isn’t a lot of comprehensive website available that discuss the topic of roboethics.
But while I was busy with my thesis, I gave up blogging entirely. It was, unfortunately, one of the first of my hobbies/routines to go when the crunch time hit. Now, being on the consumer side of blogging, I am feeling a renewed sense of invisible obligation to really keep myself in check and to commit to my hobby of blogging. Because the thing is, there is definitely some value in providing information for free, not in the academic form filled with jargon but in a form friendly to the public.
And the experience of blogging itself is quite worthwhile as well. The act of drafting a blog post is an informal exercise for you to put together your thoughts in a reflective manner. I mean, who has time to sit down in silence to reflect anyway? I’ve given that up back in undergrad. So if you are like me, lacking time for reflection yet enjoy thinking out loud, I’d like to encourage you find ways to share your thoughts/ideas/knowledge. Some great blogs are academic blogs anyway – informative things written by the experts who are really passionate about the field/topic can really reach a wide range of audience.
Anyways, this might just be another rambling of mine, trying to find balance in my life (balancing of hobby/work/social life) and emphasizing the things that may be the first to go when crunch time hits, but is still very valuable in a consequentialist sense. One thing I know for sure is that I am very much looking forward to tomorrow morning, when my plants will have grown taller and perhaps healthier with the help of the free gardening tips I got from all the bloggers whom I sincerely thank.