Posts Tagged ‘Urban Harvest’

Seasons Change

First Out

With all of the on again, off again weather we’ve had lately, it’s no wonder my green thumb has been itching to get started.

The Shelf

A little over a week ago, I spent the better part of the day preparing and seeding all of my tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and various beans.  Conveniently, the grow lamp-equipped shelf that the Everyman bought me for Christmas a few years ago made it pretty simple to start plants from seed without tying up window space.  This is important because it means it’s less likely that the cats will interfere with the delicate plants (generally speaking, they don’t like the super bright lights).

The top two shelves are usually pretty safe from kitty mischief, but this year they’ve been rather interested in the goings on of the bottom shelf, which in past years I haven’t used.  Because my ambitions for the garden this year are a little bit outsized, I had no choice but to use all 3 levels to light up my seeds, though.  There have been several instances since I installed the little seedlings in the shelving that I’ve come home and found paw sized dents in the plastic wrap tent that’s meant to hold moisture in.  Then, one morning I came down to find an ominous yellow puddle floating on top of the plastic wrap.


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.



Tiny Strawberries

Despite it’s lethargic start, the garden is now in full swing.

Salad Days

The cooler weather seems to have been most beneficial to the salad bowl, which is still going strong, even though we’re halfway through July.  By this time last year it had already bolted and gone to seed.  I love to go up to the roof and aimlessly stare into the variegated shades of green, interspersed by the occasional frond of delicious red leaf lettuce.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something soothing about staring at this picture.

I suppose you could say I have the pastoral dream, and though I’ve had a blast growing my little microcosm of deliciousness on the roof these past 2 years, I am really looking forward to this taking off, so I might be able to have some in-ground opportunities.  I’ve often considered propositioning some of my Little Italy neighbours for just such an arrangement, being they are mostly older and retired, but one glance from our rooftop confirms that they still take pride in their yards, growing tomatoes, grape vines, and zucchinis galore.  In some ways the Sharing Backyards concept reminds me of a favourite childhood book, The Tiny Little House.  The gist of the book is an old woman who makes amazingly delicious cookies, but has nowhere to sell them.  Her and two mischievous little girls decide to renovate an abandoned little house into a cookie shop, and hilarity ensues.  Like the old woman from The Tiny Little House, some day my ideal space will come…




Thymes, Glorious Thymes

It’s getting to be about that time of year when Foodie and the Everyman morphs from a food, restaurant and review blog to an obsessive compulsive gardening rant.  Though I should point out that I’m growing mostly food, so there is a (somewhat tenuous) connection.

I promise this year I will try not to bore you to tears with my garden leanings so much, it’s just that as a neophyte, I like to document what I’m doing so as not to make the same mistakes twice.  And where better to document my successes and failures than on my own tiny soapbox blog?

I visited Urban Harvest last night to finish selecting the rooftop bounty.  The Everyman was quite conniving, knowing that I had somewhere else I had to be a short while later, and also about my penchant for browsing at garden stores for hours.  He practically ensured that it would have to be no more than a quick in and out pitstop by continually following me around (as he often does when he shops with me – I think to annoy me into submission).  During the 7.5 minutes or so that I was allowed to shop, I managed to pick out a dozen lovely Alpine strawberries (which I grew last year and were amazing little cones of flavor).  I also grabbed several peculiarities that I’m looking forward to working with; a lavender thyme and some lemon thyme.  I love thyme on principle, so variations on the theme are always welcome in our home.  I’d hoped for a lavender plant proper, but they were all sold out, so lavender thyme seemed like the next best thing.  I also snapped up another of the Chinese 5 color pepper plants, because they were eye-poppingly pungent and delicious last year and they make a killer chili salt.  The Everyman’s constant vigilance ensured that I did not get stuck in the trap I like to refer to as the tomato conundrum.  Every time we’ve visited Urban Harvest in the past I’ve made bad choices and purchased more than I could possibly grow on our small stretch of rooftop.  This year, thankfully, I think I’ve made it past all of the temptation and that is not going to happen.  I’ll post up some pictures once I’ve fluffed everything into some semblance of beauty.

The Strawbs That Stole My Heart


Very Nearly Thwarted

Mother Nature can be a bit of a bitch sometimes.

I very nearly planted all my fragile tomato seedlings yesterday after I got a surge of gardening gusto.

It seems that only by sheer dumb luck (and aching muscles after hauling that damn triple mix) I managed to avoid setting them out into what turned out to be a frost warning this morning.  I did plant a shitload of lettuce mix, beets and shallots though, and am hoping they were covered enough to not be affected by this.

It’s just so frustrating!  We’re nearly halfway through the month of May, and we’re still having frost warnings?  What is that all about???  The growing season here is short enough without having to worry about stuff that’s already been put out being killed by coldness Mid-May.

I had planned to get flats of strawberries this weekend from Urban Harvest, but now I’m not so sure.  I can’t afford to waste money on something that might not last more than a few days in our topsy turvy weather system.  I think it essentially encapsulates the one thing I hate about gardening; I can do everything else perfectly, grow the best plant from seed, nurture it like crazy, etc, but it doesn’t matter one fig because I can’t control the weather.

It’s equal parts humbling and infuriating all at the same time.

Until next time…

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: