Are you sick of hearing about my little garden yet? Because I could talk about it for most of the live long day. I’ve been posting pictures of my urban garden to a local Farm & Food group (with real bona-fide farmers and gardeners and people who actually know what they are doing) and I’ve even impressed some of them with my efforts. At the beginning of the season we asked around to see if the $5 Topsy Turvy Dohickies were worth anything and got mixed reviews. Some people couldn’t get them to produce at all, while the package boasts an up to 30 pound yield per bag. We were hoping for somewhere in the middle and it seems we are doing well! Each of our 3 hangers has gone crazy and is lush and finally starting to produce (both steps further than many in the area). The heritage we chose are smaller higher production plants so we should be looking for quite a few little guys which will have time to mature before the weather turns on us yet again.
I have obviously learned a few more things to add to our ‘gardening lessons’ list and am already excited about the small yet significant changes to next year’s garden.
Lesson 7: Tomato plants require a lot of water. Like, a lot. It totally makes sense when you take into account how many leafy greens they are constantly pushing, but skipping a day of watering won’t work. The plants will wilt and fall quickly if left without water, but thankfully bounce back just as quickly when you finally get back on your game.
Lesson 8: When planted too close together with a heat wave, your beautiful radishes will bolt and form not a radish, but a long root which does you no good. We harvested a single lonely radish in our last container and had to toss the rest. Here’s hoping this latest planting (ready in 28 days) does better and we have some super sweet radishes to much on.
Compare this photo to the one taken here and you can see how much these plants have grown!
The squash plants on the sidewalk at my storefront are insanely huge and I love it. Yesterday a customer stopped at the door “Hey! This is squash! Did you know this is squash? You have squash here!” Like perhaps these ginormous plants arrived and I was oblivious…? Either way, it was funny and today I harvested one of the largest yellow guys before he gets too big and seedy. To date we’ve eaten 3 and they have all be pretty amazing. I saute them with some chopped onions and a little of my homemade butter. Yum.
I can’t believe how excited I was to see the first little green ball on one of the tomato plants…! And after further inspection there are quite a few more starting on other plants. So. Excited.
Our garden makes me giddy. There, I said it. I love poking around the pots in the morning and at night and seeing what has happened through the day (it’s a little like watching paint dry but more fun!!). We’ve got lots of things working to push their fruit out, and today I harvested the first cucumber! The variety I purchased is meant to be pickle size, so I picked it today and can’t wait to give it a munch tonight.
I have 4 squash plants as well as 4 peppers (and a lone cucumber) outside at my storefront where they bask in some serious direct sun at the end of every day. I have been getting loads of compliments about how awesome and healthy they look (I clap and giggle of course) but overheard the best compliment yesterday. A man stopped to tell his friends how impressed he was that someone was clever enough to plant flowers under greenery – “It creates such a lovely play on space!” Now, think about it….get it? They were squash blossoms. I love it. I’m still laughing about it, and taking the compliment on my revolutionary gardening techniques all the way to the bank.
I was so excited to stumble upon our first little cucumber while I was trying to coax a vine back to the trellis – I had no idea it was even there! So exciting! The whole ‘grow stuff’ thing is really working! We also have a squash which is starting to form and most of the tomato plants are in blossom at the moment. I’m amazed at the sense of accomplishment and straight up pride I’m taking in these little plants started from seed….!
Our little garden has finally made it outside and the growing seems to be speeding up (Huzzah!). The peppers have been staked and the tomatoes have been re-homed into cages (it’s very humane, don’t worry) or those upside down Topsy Turvy things. I have had mixed reviews as per their performance, so we’ll see. So far the plants are trying to bend back up toward the bag (?), hopefully they will figure it out soon and stop fighting gravity. The cucumbers have sort of stopped doing much of anything, so I’m not sure what to do with them, but the squash has continued the whole ‘world domination’ plan.
Of course I have learned a few more lessons….
Lesson 5: If you are going to restart your herbs and/or lettuce, stop trying to be nice and start them in the house (see previous post where I killed them all in eggshells). These guys need tough love and need to start their entire existence outside in the elements (nice elements, not too crazy). After a few of my lettuce sprouts got to 2 inches high, I put the basket outside and they promptly shriveled up. The next batch is doing much better with a full life of outdoor love. Parsley also curled up and had to be reseeded.
Lesson 6: What you think is enough light may not actually be true. I had placed my recycled soup and coffee can planters in some pre-made wooden garden boxes figuring they would just continue to flourish in the sun. This is hard when your wee plants aren’t quite big enough to see over the edge of the planter. I used the plastic boxes from some of my starts to prop the cans on until the plants are big enough to sit flat.