Every year, generally for the first essay of the year, I do a piece about my hydroponics system. I purposefully delayed the essay this year because it’s going to be a bit different.

This is probably the last time I’m doing an essay about all the hydroponic plants because they’re all going away. By the end of summer, I will no longer have any hydroponic plants.

What happened?

My diet changed.

I’m no longer eating lots of leafy greens. It makes no sense for me to grow a bunch of leafy greens if I’m not eating them. My husband has never been as big of a fan of salads as I was, so he hasn’t wanted to continue with as many pots.

Therefore, as the lettuces have died or gone to seed, I’ve stopped replacing them.

We’re down to twenty plants at this time. I don’t hate or resent the time that it takes every week to take care of them. However, it no longer brings me the joy it once did. I don’t need to continue doing something that no longer delights me.

I’m going to go through them and talk about where they’ll end up.

We have three mustard plants which will probably all go to seed before summer. There’s a collard greens plant that will either go to seed or be planted outside. It’s hung on for quite some time, so we may try it outdoors.

The purple kale will go outside, as it probably has another couple of years of life left in it. Some kale does well in the Pacific Northwest and will survive the winter. As we get pretty cold on the property, I don’t know if it’ll make it. We may end up potting it and putting it in the little greenhouse thing I have next to TH2.

The hot and spicy oregano will go into the ground. As will the tomato, the parsley, and the chocolate mint.

I’m not sure what to do with the society garlic. It looks like a spider plant. Its leaves taste like green garlic. I use our trimmings in my bone broth, but I don’t need to keep growing it. May transfer it to pots and ask people to take it.

The stevia will absolutely go into a pot and stay in TH1. We’re going to have some sort of herb garden over there. The Cuban oregano and the rosemary will also go into pots and stay in TH1. While I have rosemary that grows outside, I like having access to fresh rosemary year-round. May get some thyme this year, as it was never that successful in hydro, but I’m sure I can grow it in dirt.

Then there’s the yerba mate.

Yerba Mate Plant

It’s been extremely successful in hydro. Really healthy. Every time we cut it back, it puts out new branches. Though I don’t drink a lot of caffeine these days, the roasted yerba mate makes a delicious tea. And it takes SO MANY leaves to make just a single cup.

I have the ridiculous coffee tree in TH2. I may end up putting the yerba mate in a large pot and just letting it grow, as it will grow into a tree. We’ll see.

I’m glad I had the hydroponics. I started it in 2020, during the summer when it was more difficult to get fresh veggies in the grocery store. I wanted to make sure I had access to good greens at all times.

I started with a kale plant that didn’t die until last fall, so it lasted about three years. (Generally, kale lasts two years in hydro.) At one point, I had over seventy plants, including some ridiculously large bell pepper plants. Lots of herbs. Lots of greens.

Will I at some point get back into the hydroponics? I have no idea.

But for now, it’s a chapter of my life that’s ending.

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