I have been in love with my rooftop garden this past month. Every meal includes something picked fresh from the garden that morning – there’s a bowl of fresh produce on the counter everyday! This is what I love about the harvest season (besides all of the eating). No matter how hard the growing season has been, no matter how many buckets of sloshing water have been hauled, and squirrels have been reckoned with, it is all erased by the joy and thrill of eating meals grown and prepared with my hands, brains, and skill.
I’ll be heading over to my community garden this afternoon to check up on progress there. I’m sure I’ll come home with a bag of food, but there’s just something extra special about stepping out the door, picking something fresh off the plant and stepping back into the kitchen again to prepare it.
I discovered another cost of garbage, both economical and environmental, while watching a segment on solar powered trash compactors on Daily Planet. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me, but of course fuel is needed to operate the garbage trucks that haul garbage off your curb and out of the city to a dump site. And according to the show, it turns out that garbage trucks are major gas gusslers. While some cities have shifted to trucks that operate on “greener” fuels, a large percentage of garbage trucks in use are the most polluting and least fuel-efficient vehicles on the road.
Just another reason to keep as much waste out of your garbage bags as possible and get composting.
In an effort to grow new-to-me determinant tomato varieties, I completely forgot to grow tomatillos this year. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late to start tomatillos from seed and none of my favorite local transplant suppliers were growing them. I’m told that tomatillos aren’t a popular crop. For shame.
Well look at what I discovered growing out of the gravel on the unusable side of our rooftop this evening. Several small tomatillo plants — seeded by previous years’ crops — have taken a stab at procreation in what amounts to about an inch or so of gravel on top of tar paper. Some of them had flowers! We dug them up to transplant into pots and discovered healthy, and rather large root systems. I have developed a whole new respect for this plant!
It’s already late in the summer so the chances of getting more than a handful of small-sized fruit is grim but I have moved the largest into containers to give them a fighting chance. Go tomatillos, GO!
Guest post by Amy Urquhart
I got married last month and I sure as sugar wasn’t going to incorporate the usual, boring, over-the-top, expensive floral centrepieces I saw in most wedding magazines into our reception!
Instead, I thought I’d buy scented geraniums. However, when I got to Richter’s to buy them the week of the wedding, the selection wasn’t that great, and those they had in stock were looking a little worse for wear.
The mint plants, on the other hand, looked great. There was a lot of variety, too. I needed 15 plants. I picked several different varieties, including Apple Mint, Candy Lime Mint, Variegated Peppermint, Scotch Spearmint (I ended up putting this one on the table where I’d seated most of the relatives from Scotland) and even Berries & Cream Mint.
I made new, pretty plant tags that co-ordinated with the rest of the stationery items I’d made for the wedding and had them laminated. I copied the Richter’s wording for them…it’s just that I really wanted the font and colour to match the rest of the decor.
I repotted the plants into new, 6″ plastic pots and placed each one into a galvanized steel holder (I picked these up at Dollarama). I had to put a smaller upside-down pot in the bottom of the container so the rim of of the plastic pot would line up with the rim of the steel container and inserted the newly-laminated, colour-co-ordinating plant tags.
This is the end result:
We encouraged our guests to take the plants home and put them in their garden. It was great to find a way to incorporate my love of gardening (and knack for growing invasive plants) into our wedding reception decor. Each centrepiece cost about $7 to make.
The world of gardening containers is a sad carnival of ugly. I grow A LOT of plants, therefore requiring A LOT of pots. Unfortunately, the few stylish containers out there fall outside of a price range affordable to the bountiful, yet thrifty grower. That’s why I was excited to find these gorgeous plant pots at a Whole Foods on a recent trip to San Francisco. EcoForms embody all of the positives of plastic plant containers but they are made of biodegradable materials such as rice hulls. While they won’t last forever — this is a GOOD thing — they will last five years and claim to be structurally sound and resistant to freezing and thawing conditions.
I bought three pots with accompanying saucer: a Nova 6 in mocha brown ($5.99 US), an ebony black urn ($3.99 US), and a bowl in avocado green ($3.99 US). Saucers ran just over a buck or so depending on size. It turns out I should have bought more since EcoForms only seem to be available on the West Coast for the time being.