Posts Tagged ‘lettuce’

The Garbagepail Garden Shall Rise Again

Tatties

A few weeks ago (some time around Mother’s day I think) I took my 1 pound box of mixed potato species and Carman sunchokes and planted them in last year’s winningest idea for a planter; the garbage can!

Only this time, I remembered to drill holes in the bottom because the gross bog of rainwater that was left in the bin after all this spring weather really did not need to be repeated next year.  As you can see, the warm, almost summery weather we’ve been having lately has had quite the effect on my potatoes.  In only 2 short weeks I’ve gotten sproutlings that are already several inches tall.  I’d say this bodes well for an even better harvest than last year, which I didn’t start until much later in June.

The Beginnings Of A Salad Bowl

Also growing on the roof are some shoots that will soon make it into my salad bowl.

Beet Sprouts

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The Most Ambitious Project Yet

Garden 2010

After much deliberation (and a healthy dose of procrastination), I’ve finally selected and plotted my intentions for the 2010 garden.

It might seem awfully early to some, but seeds must be ordered, delivered and started before a springtime sowing in late May can be accomplished.

This year will be interesting for a number of reasons.

Primarily because I’m going to be trying to grow a couple crowns of asparagus for the first time, but I’m also attempting rare French strawberries from seed, as well as leeks, garlic and chard.

As you can see from my crude 10,000 foot drawing, there are lots of different veggies being installed, as well as a small bee garden that I hope will attract a healthy amount of polinators to our rooftop sanctuary.  We had a bit of a problem with the lack of bees last year, though I’m not sure if it was due to colony collapse or the overall shitty weather, but it can’t hurt to encourage them with a pretty flower garden.

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Forest Floor In Miniature

AM

As the days continue to idly drift by, I’m no closer to getting my seedlings in the ground.

It’s not entirely my fault, though.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been having some difficulty locating a garden centre that can deliver the quantities of dirt, mulch and compost I require without just dumping them on a front lawn I don’t have.  The most promising supplier I found advised me this morning that for whatever reason they don’t deliver to Toronto.  Now I normally love a challenge, but this is becoming a farce.  I need bagged, (not loose) dirt, and it has to be of excellent quality, without chemicals or fertilizers mixed in.  When it comes to homegrown produce I’m a purist, and I like to know exactly what is in the stuff that receives all of my hard labor.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask…

The basement artichoke plants are becoming spiky and menacing, and the tomatoes so tall that they’ve almost hit the lights.  The roots expanded beyond their individual toilet paper prisons and are on the verge of intertwining with each other; it will become an inevitability if I don’t act fast.

I should’ve planted out the beets and salad greens already, but without dirt that seems somewhat fruitless.  Instead I rounded up a small container of dirt that’d been sitting out in the elements all winter and used it to plant a lilliputian lettuce garden in the kitchen window.  I originally read about the idea (credited to Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl) here, and since I wanted to get early lettuce greens sometime soon, it seemed like the perfect distractionary project.  Check out the difference just a few hours can make.  It’s really quite spectacular.

Now all I need is some dirt and to wake up in the morning and find they’ve morphed into edible-sized sprouts.

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Anything Goes…

Every day that passes brings the gardening season that much closer (fingers crossed that we’re done with snow).  To while away the time I’ve become hooked on something I read about over at You Grow Girl several months ago… Gardening Mama!  It’s a game from the people who making Cooking Mama, which I also obsessively love, but more than that, it keeps my hands busy while I’m waiting for the universe to hurry up and warm up outside already…

Though I may have let the past few months pass in relative silence on the garden front, you can be assured that I’ve not been dormant.  From taking my seed catalogs with me on Christmas vacation so I could pick out my new projects (yes, I am a garden dork and I was mocked mercilessly about it the entire vacation), to harassing the people at West Coast Seeds when an order didn’t arrive, to finally breaking out the potting soil and mucking about in my basement laundry room, the last 3 months contained their fair share of preparatory activities.

Project Sustainability 2009 is well underway, with approximately 60 seedlings chilling out on the grow tower.  Considering that last year was my first attempt at growing anything more involved than a cactus, I was pretty impressed with the end results.  There were definitely lessons learned, and notes made about plants I wouldn’t bother to grow again (read: corn and those weeds I thought were beans).  But this year, along with bringing back favorites and successes from 2008, I also picked a bunch of new plants to try.  As our diet becomes increasingly varied, the memories of how explosively flavorful my completely organic, fresh picked produce was last year inspired me to try my hand at even more.  I can never replace Bob (our organic delivery guy) or our CSA farmshare from Zephyr Organics, but being able to combine two of my all-consuming passions is just too good to pass up.  Plus, creating your own tiny microcosm means being able to experiment with more unique and just plain bizarre produce that larger growers might not bother with.

So far on the rooftop roster this year we have:

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Oh Noes! It’s Eating Time!!!

Soooooooooo… it’s been approximately 6 weeks since I planted the first seeds in our roof garden.  And surprise surprise, I actually managed to grow something!!!  The curse of my black thumb seems to have finally (miraculously) been lifted.

And what’s even better, this weekend was the first time that something I grew was big enough to be eaten!  My lettuce barrel has now grown to the point that the leaves are about 4 inches tall, I can’t see the dirt in the pot anymore, and it’s just a bucket of various shades of green.  So, it seemed fitting that I should kill two birds with one stone by thinning out the bucket so that everything else could get bigger, and have some delicious fresh lettuce for my dinner plate.  But I must say, after nurturing these plants for the past 6 weeks, it was very hard for me to take the scissors and start snipping out leaves of lettuce.  I had this feeling that they weren’t large enough yet, and that I was limiting their future growth.  In reality, if I hadn’t thinned out the bucket, they probably wouldn’t have gotten much bigger, since there is hardly any room left for them to grow.  The Everyman said, I just want you to take notice, the lettuce was the first thing on my plate to disappear; so you know it was damn good lettuce.  So good, that at 10:30 last night I was re-seeding the under-producing spinach planter with some more of the lettuce seeds.

Within the next two weeks or so, I am also expecting to nosh on the first of my Chioggia beets, and Parmex carrots too.  I never knew I could enjoy gardening so much, but this has vastly exceeded my expectations.  The only thing that would make me happier is if (or when) my 7 tomato plants start producing.

Lastly, this weekend the Everyman and I spent about an hour planting seeds in my community plot.  I was really excited for this because it gives me the opportunity to grow the larger things that I didn’t think were feasible on our roof.  So, in about 2 months or so, if everything goes to plan, I’ll have a decent sized crop of Ashworth corn, Sugar Daddy peas, Detroit Dark Red beets, Mesclun mix, and baby new potatoes.

Oh I love food!  I’ll be eatin’ good this year :)

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