Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
You will notice that the hose has made it up to the roof. It is securely lashed to the railing so as not to go sliding off and for me or somebody to reach over the edge, without thinking, to grab it. I would like to take a moment now to thank the City of Philadelphia and PWD for making sure that I have enough water pressure to get the water 2+ stories up to my plants! I didn't relish having to carry jugs of water up if the pressure wasn't sufficient. Eventually I hope to figure out a way to capture and reuse rain water for the roof, to save money, resources, and provide better water for the plants, but that is a ways off in the future. There are lots of house projects on the "to do" list before that!
So, as I commented in the ground garden update, we had a week of non-everyday rain, but we have had enough rain and cool enough evenings that I have only given the pots about 1/2 gallon of water each this week. I expect to have to water 2-3 days a week in the heat of the summer but the container mix with the vermiculite and the water 'crystals' seem to be doing a good job so far!
There are tomato blossoms, peppers blossoms and even a baby pepper! My mouth is watering
waiting for that first fresh tomato... it probably won't even make it off the roof, just get pulled off the vine and eaten right there on the roof. I may or may not share with Paul....
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Of course that doesn't mean I can bury my nose happily in the catalogue and drool over all the yummy stuff I will someday produce, right in my own back yard.... or roof!
Monday, June 22, 2009
The nasturtiums are still going nuts, the beans are creeping their way up their trellis, the lettuce is keeping the squash and cucumbers company, and the little flowers in front are starting to look like real plants. The butterfly bush has a few buds on the tips, so I'm excited about that. I haven't quite figured out why the calla lilies haven't come up yet. I don't' know if the ground just got too soggy and they all rotted, or if it hasn't been warm enough long enough for them to come up. I hope they come up soon! If not I guess I'll have to find some other bulbs to put in the corner behind the bench. The buckets are off the "grass" and on the roof, so that opens things up a bit. Otherwise, we are all just waiting for the sunshine to arrive.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
It was a bit of a challenge getting up there. The ladder is kind of steep, and the hatch is rather small. It's a good thing that the buckets had handles though, it made it much easier to carry them and hold them off to my side so I could squeeze through the hatch with them. You can see my thrifty habits in the mismatch of buckets used as pots. No sense in paying $15 for a pot that I can't carry up the ladder when I could ask friends and family to gather up any spare buckets they could find. The yellow ones were my contribution. Kitty litter was bought in buckets instead of boxes specifically for this purpose. Each of the buckets has several 1/4" holes drilled about 2" up from the bottom, on the sides. My mom and I decided this would be the best place for them so the water wasn't leaking out onto the deck boards, and they will be able to hold a little bit of water in that last 2" of soil. The soil is not quite as planned. I didn't find the coir I wanted, and mom had a bag of container mix that she ran out of containers to fill with. So between that bag, a bag of organic garden soil, a bale of peat moss, some vermiculite, some water saving crystals and some slow release fertilizer, we created our own container mix. Here's hoping they like it!
You can just barely see it, but here you can see my bird deterrent system. After having had one of the peppers completely mowed down by a bird the first night it was up there, we thought that bird mesh was an important item. I hope that the plants will have enough space to fill out in there little mesh cage. If they don't I will just have to spend another creative afternoon devising a way to protect them. I am also not sure how I am going to get in there to pick off old leaves and tie their next round of stake ties. I guess I'll get there when I get there. And speaking of stakes. I figured I might need a few for the tomatoes, because even determinant tomatoes can get a little heavy, especially when they put on fruit. I hadn't thought about the fact that it is MUCH windier up there and that even the peppers would need staked at such a young age. Thankfully mom and dad thought that far ahead, and brought me a stack of tomato stakes, made from scrap wood. I cut an old t-shirt into strips to use as ties. I have found it is a little gentler on the stalks than twine.
One last thing. The peppers and tomatoes at the top of the picture are the ones my mom grew. The ones at the bottom of the picture are the ones I grew. Looks like I have a lot of learning to do about starting seedlings! Mom thinks part of my problem is what many gardeners have, I coddle them too much. Instead of bringing them out in the bright window sill, waving my hand on their little leaves and giving them room to grow, I kept them in their little pots in the greenhouse, where even the best "grow light" can't beat sunshine. Next year the cats are just going to have to deal with the loss of their favorite window sills for a little longer.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We are still getting a lot of rain, which apparently is making up for our winter precipitation shortfall, but at least now, the days get to be 75-80 degrees instead of staying in the 60s. This has helped alot of stuff finally take hold. The beans and squash planted along the left fence are finally looking like plants. The beans are climbing up their "dreamcatcher" and I'm dreaming of fresh green beans! The flowers are taking hold too. The nasturtiums are going NUTS! There are spots of yellow, orange, coral and red all over the yard. A few of them were crowding each other, and my mom transplanted them in between other plants so they all have more space to fill out. One thing I did not know about nasturtiums is that they will climb. They are currently sharing the trellis on the right with the peas! They don't seems to be hurting each other though, so I figure I'll let them go. And speaking of peas. I picked a dozen pods! I have to make rice so I can use them in a pilaf since there really aren't enough for dinner yet.
In the bottom right corner you will notice all the buckets. They have tomatoes and peppers lovingly transplanted by my mom, waiting to be moved to the roof deck. While my mom was helping my dad install bathroom pipes (the other project this trip) my brother was up on the roof screwing down deck boards. He doesn't get to build a whole lot in his tiny apartment in Paris, so he wanted to use some tools and see a project finished while he was here. It looks great! I can't wait to get the plants up there. I have to wait until I get bird netting though. We put a bucket up as a test for where the bottom rail needed to be, and when we went up the next morning, the birds had clipped all but two leaves off. I hadn't planned on the deck this year, but now that we have done it, I am really excited to see how many tomatoes we will get. I need to rig up a way to get water up there easily, and a few other details, but there will be updates about those later.
The tiered corner is really filling in. The lettuce, cucumbers, herbs and flowers have made a nice surround for the birdbath. I haven't had much time to sit and watch for feathered visitors this past week, I'll have to make some this week!And finally, the lettuce. I have planted it in years past, but somehow it never seemed to work out. This year however, we have been eating almost as much salad as we can stand, and the lettuce just keeps coming! In the back bed it is filling in around the squash plants. I need to start a new run so that when this bolts we will still have lettuce. You will also note that the bok choi is gone. It was yummy! We had it stirfried with garlic and a little oil. Replacing it is Swiss chard which had been thined from one of the window boxes in the tiered corner. I will need to put some more bok choi nearer to the end of the summer when the flowers are starting to fade.
ba dee ba dee... ba dee ba dee... that's all folks!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sorry I haven't been updating. Just hadn't had anything as interesting as Michelle. So, here are 2 of my 4 garden boxes, plus the beautiful sweet peas, which are trying very hard to look like orchids. The first box is our side box. It has peas climbing up the fence in the back and 4 tomatoes plants. They are Mountain early, grape, Siberia early, moonglow orange. I have intercropped them with carrots, nasturtiums, and beets.
The second box has 3 Amish plaste tomatoes plants and 10 pepper plants. 6 californa wonders, 2 orange bells and 2 south philly fryers. The fryers are grown from seeds saved from Fordi's Mom's garden a year or so back. These are intercropped with red Romain lettuce and 2 kinds of spinach.
And here are the sweet peas:
Monday, June 1, 2009
So far I have eaten lettuce, radishes, nasturtiums and bok choi. I have also picked several daisies, irises and roses. Pretty good harvest for only being the week after Memorial day!
I have to throw in a few more bean seeds so that there will be a staggered harvest. And I need to throw in some more lettuce and start spinach so we have greens all summer. So nice to know that my work in January, February and March is finally paying off!