I desperately need to clean up my rooftop garden. Desperately. Double desperately. It’s horrible how long I’ve let it got this year really. The warmer Fall temperatures were wonderfully evil and I just went with it pretending that Fall would continue forever. I rewarded myself for cleaning up at the community garden so early this year. I can put it off a little longer, I said. It will be just like last year, I said. There will not be snow until January and by then everyone will be freaking out and talking about the blooming crocus and dandelion flowers and how the end of the world is neigh and it won’t matter that some of the pots weren’t empty or that the strawberries never did get replanted from the big pot into the ground.
And now I am in this dilemma. It has already snowed. The ground is probably frozen. I say probably because I haven’t had the courage to check. I would take a picture and post it here for you to see what I am talking about but that would mean having to look and I can’t bear it. I avoid looking out there entirely preferring to pretend it doesn’t exist. From memory and the occasional tiny peek I do seem to recall an assortment of clay pots that are usually emptied, washed and put away by this time every year prior to this one. I’m pretty sure that tender Echeveria I’ve been over-wintering indoors for years is now dead. The shiso was never harvested. Lifeless bean stalks cling to string and a few remaining lantern-like tomatillos hang from leafless branches.
Today would be the perfect day to get out there and do it already. The sun is shining, the temperatures are above zero, and anything that was recently frozen is probably melted after yesterday’s torrential downpours. I could cut back the plants, remove and wash the terra cotta and be done with it. And I would be totally on it too, I really would, except that I have come down with a terrible cold complete with body aches and a nose that runs like a faucet. So instead I will go back to bed with a pile of hankies and a warm tea, putting those self-preserving powers of denial to work for one more day.
I know. I don’t post anything for ages and then I give you this. I received a simple little pocket-sized point-and-shoot digital camera for my birthday and have been excitedly testing out the video feature. The following are two short videos from day one with the camera.
I call this first one, “Tomatillo in the Wind.” A longer, contemplative shot might have imparted a more existential flavour but I’ve suffered through enough art school endurance tests to last a lifetime.
This next video was actually the very first one I shot with the camera only minutes after busting open the box. Can you feel the excitement?
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!
- Facing west (closer) – Sweet and hot peppers in the foreground with purple tomatillos in the grey, oval-shaped container and a tomato in the larger grey container (right side). That’s ‘Siam Queen’ basil hanging out the front of the tomato container. To the left you can see another large grey container (white tray underneath) with a tomato plant and some red rubin basil. It’s hard to see in this pic but I’ve added a decorative trim of twigs that I bent into an oval shape. I did a similar thing to protect the peppers (foreground) from the raccoons that insisted on digging the seedling up every night. Worked like a charm.
Fire escape silver boxes – The box on the left has lavender and various succulents while the box on the right has miniature curry plant and portulaca. The plants underneath are various basils, nicotiana, tangerine gem marigold, and green sausage tomatoes. There’s a silver fir tree tomato hidden back there too. It already has one small tomato!