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.
My spouse, our cat (she LOVES edamame!), and I just finished sharing a small plate of fresh edamame aka soy beans harvested from the rooftop garden. This first harvest came from one plant grown in a medium-sized container. The variety name is ‘Toyha.’ To be honest the taste was not unlike the frozen beans I have cooked up at home or purchased in Japanese restaurants, yet they SEEMED exceptional given that we grew them ourselves and watched their progress with eagerness since I sowed the first batch of beans in mid-June. I will add that they were much better than the under-sized pods I purchased at the Farmer’s Market last summer.
Guest post by Emira Mears
With summer in full swing most of my garden work these days is about maintaining: watering, weeding and reseeding the odd head of lettuce. For the past week or so these chores have been particularly lovely as a few of my scented flowers are in full bloom. Now many of my plants have scents of course — I can’t walk past my tomatoes without rubbing my hands along their lovely leaves, I’ve got many different lavender plants, herbs and my much cherished roses — but the ones that have sprung into bloom lately are the real scent heavy hitters. Casablanca lilies in particular, and a recently acquired budlea that doesn’t do too bad a job of smelling up the garden. I have to admit that scent isn’t really the first thing I pay attention to when picking flowers, herbs and veggies to plant. And in fact, the lilies that I’m so enjoying right now are not something I would normally buy and plant, but came as gift bulbs from a friendly neighbor up the way. And, while I still can’t say I go crazy over their visual addition to the garden, I will definitely plant them again. Their abundant scent really helps to transform me into the “gardening state of mind” as I’m out there taking care of details. Together with the feel of the dirt and the progress of all my leafy babies out there, I find my mind becoming occupied with my plants instead of the worries or thoughts of my day. And, while I’m definitely not the first to discover this whole scented-flower-thing, I’m becoming quite the champion of it. I think next year I’ll work on creating pockets of scent around the garden, and trying to ensure that I’ve got more fragrance throughout the year.
Before I leave this scent topic I do feel I need to afford special praise to my honeysuckle. The honeysuckle was among the very established plants that came with this garden and I fell in love with it instantly. And if its rambling green tendrils and gorgeous bursts of flower weren’t enough to recommend it, the evening scent of it as I wheel my bike past it on summer nights really is a dreamy delight.