As I type this, one third of my rooftop garden sits on the floor in my living room. A second third of the garden is cluttering up the hallway around our front door. “Come on in friendly visitor! But first brave this minefield of plants, soil, and containers.” The final third remains outside. They were either impossible to transport or cold hardy enough to stay outdoors during last night’s reported RISK OF FROST, dated June 5, 2007. In June. Five days into the month of June in the year 2007. Just days after sweating to the oldies with RISK OF BURNING UP while adding new plants to my community garden plot.
Who loves climate change now?
We constructed this tent system for the garbage can-grown tomatoes that could not be moved. We used a huge piece of canvas cloth and the existing tripod stakes in the containers as support. The tomatoes look fine but the tomatillo is not taking it well at all. I’ve left this insane structure in place since it is still very cold and windy out there. The rooftop deck is exposed on three sides so the wind is a lot more intense than on the ground.
On a positive note I ate my first peas of the season this morning and ‘Whipper Snapper’ (aka ‘Whippersnapper’) is still going strong having begun making itty bitty tomatoes sometime around last Friday. At this rate, and if the real June ever decides to return, we should have our first tomatoes before July 1.
We enjoyed our first ripe strawberry of the season this morning. Nothing beats the sweet, sweet deliciousness of an organic, homegrown strawberry. Strawberries are probably the easiest fruit to grow in containers and do very well in hanging baskets, strawberry pots, or window boxes on sunny decks and balconies. I give mine little more than a little sea kelp and vermicompost (worm poo) fertilizer now and again and am sure to keep the soil consistently moist without drying out. The hybrids can take a bit of drought but I try not to push the plants too hard in order to get as much juicy, sweet fruit as possible.
This year I am growing both a pink flowering and a white flowering, everbearing hybrid that will produce two crops of berries, one this month and the second in late-summer/early-fall. Our first strawberry actually came from the canister plant but I missed getting a snap of it in Davin’s eagerness to taste. With today’s heat and humidity the berry shown in the above image should be ready by this evening!
If you’re looking for a hardy herb that will produce a harvest all season-long, and can withstand just about anything you can throw at it then look no further than chives. I’ve been growing this wash basin of chives for so many years I can’t for the life of me recall where I got the tub or the plant. All I know is that it is one of the few perennial herbs that I can count on to withstand an inconsistent and sometimes bitter winter in a container and additionally be the first plant up and providing garnishes for early spring soups.
Every spring I try and find a new way to fill in the gaps left by the plants that don’t have the fortitude of chives and give the planter a place of prominence as the first pretty thing to look at out on the rooftop deck. This particular planting received a lot of positive attention this spring so I thought I’d share it with you.
I use just about ever part of the plant. The early buds and fully open chive blossoms taste great in salads or steeped in vinegar to make a salad dressing.
Sure I lost an eggplant last year but I don’t even like eggplants and you left the rest of the plants untouched unlike the raccoons that just plow through like tanks and tear everything to shreds so it was like, Okay, no problem, we can live together. I’m sure we can hug this one out, maybe employ a little group therapy and some committed rounds of roll reversal. You can have an eggplant or two if you REALLY need one and sure I don’t care for your, “I’ll just take a bite and see if I like it” attitude but you live here and I live here and we’re all creatures of the earth so I can dig it, man.
But then…. I wake up to this morning’s damage:
Who knew opossums eat tomato plants? Who knew anything short of insects and slugs eat tomato plants?
He was kind enough to simply nibble the bottom leaves off of this one. Thanks!
It’s safe to say that this tomato ain’t coming back.
I call this strategy, “The Eff You Method”, except when I say it I am much less polite.
That’s good ole’ Hens and Chicks to me and you.
When budgeting for plants I keep a mental list of plants I would not pay more than 3 bucks for. Plants like basil, oregano, thyme, sedums tend to fall into this category. And most especially hens and chicks. In fact I don’t think I’ve paid more than 2 bucks for a puffy container of these reliable and mega-easy succulents.
But with a name like ‘Pacific Sexy’ I couldn’t NOT fork out the $7.99 + applicable taxes for this little number. Because, HELLO, it’s name is ‘Pacific Sexy.’ And it sparkles an iridescent red when the light hits just so. And by “just so” I mean after 10 minutes of tilting and adjusting. Plus it makes a mean cappuccino and feeds the cat when we’re away.
Next time I’ll just name the 2 dollar variety ‘Hot Baby Disco’ and save the 6 bucks.