Back in February, when being able to go outside wearing a sweatshirt instead of a coat meant that it was warm, I climbed on up to the roof and ripped out all the remaining bits and pieces of tomato and pepper plants that had overwintered there. I have since been up to do the annual leak and problem check of the roof membrane, but today, I got to plant something!
I have decided that a few of the pots are a little on the small side, and so have a few new drywall mud and primer buckets waiting in the wings for me to scrub and get a load of compost to help fill them but that didn't stop me from taking advantage of the pots that are already up there. When I was at the garden center the other weekend, a bag of onion sets called my name, and I listened. Since it is possible to eat onions any time along their growth cycle, and Paul and I can go through a pound or so of onions a week, I figured a bag of 100 wasn't too big of a stretch. I put one row in the middle of my main garden bed. I figure that I will let those stay in all season and mature to full size onions. Next, I put a row about 6" in front of that row, where the cucumbers and squash will go. I can pull 4 or 5 out, plant the cukes and squash, then I can remove the onions outward as the plants spread. I also planted a few in the big pots that I plan to use for basil and annual flowers along the patio. I will do the same there as I am doing with the cukes, as the plants spread, I will pull the onions. Onions have nice tall, green leaves though, so if they don't affect the root systems of the flowers I may leave them in as background greenery.
We have finally had a few days of nice weather, and the onions are peaking their way up through the soil (I wish the peas would get the hint!) so today's planting expedition was in the pots on the roof. Here again I figure I can do something similar to what I did in the ground. I added 2 or 3 sets (that's what the baby onions that you plant are called, seeds take too long for most northern climates) to each bucket. Since I am only going to put one plant in each pot this year (I will not crowd the veggies, I will not crowd the veggies, I will not crowd the veggies...)I figure by the middle of May when the tomatoes and peppers go in, the onions will have a firm hold. By the beginning of June I can thin the onions and let the veggies take over, perhaps leaving one onion in each pot to mature. I hear onions are good pest deterrents, even if this is not the case, with the addition of a cilantro plant, we will be hopefully be eating salsa around the middle of July!
In the words of the Drifters (or Carol King, or James Taylor, or whoever really wrote it) "...right smack dab in the middle of town, I've found a paradise that is trouble proof..." and will be providing me with the makings of salsa to enjoy with my margaritas as I look out over the hot, steamy city...