Friday, April 15, 2011

Rooftop gardening

...has been happening. It's just not very photogenic at the moment. The terrace in early April is just waking up.

Up on the alleged farm, in the interests of economy of $'s and of effort, I have resorted to turning milk crates into additional planters. They were being thrown out by neighbours, so I appropriated them, lined them with plastic bags, punched holes in the bags, and now we will see. I will snip off some black plastic around the tops as I don't want them to turn into hot-boxes in the summer.

The peas are looking healthy but are in no hurry to reach the top of their cage.

The bare farm. Salad leaves in the troughs, melons in the vivid, $5 buckets. Tomatoes, aubergines (eggplant, brinjal), fava beans (broad beans) and purple bush beans, cucumbers. I'm not sure how the tomato seedlings are going to do - they are quite yellow, and I suspect the organic potting soil from Miracle Gro was too rich, apart from appearing to be full of bark - it contains chicken manure. It was all I could find at my three hood stores. I really don't like Miracle Gro soil. What do I like for containers? Fafard. And worm compost from the LES Ecology Center, but it's too expensive and long a trip, alas, for my rooftop needs. I should have gone to GRDN, but I fell for the free delivery from the hardware store on Court Street...Maybe it'll be OK. I hate waiting.

And several Strawberry "Fern", ready to be mailed to their new home.

I am curious to see how the children of last year's strawberries will perform this year. I kept about eight plants, as well as the original three,  and gave another handful to my neighbour Danielle, whose terrace is next door to mine. All the little plants are preparing to push out flowers, and I will stop them from sending out runners this year, unless there is anybody else out there who like to have an ever-bearing strawberry plant! I look forward to this:


  1. I think your roof terrace looks lovely as it is, full of exciting anticipation!

    I'm really looking forward to watching it blossom this year.

  2. Oh man, I was going to ask you where you got your little strawberry plants / seeds since they've been so productive for you. Zach and I would LOVE runners if you're offering. But the fairer side benefit would be meeting you! :)

  3. I'm with you on the Miracle Gro. I think they blend it for a quick pop on flowers, but it's too much too fast. When I have to use it, i try to "dirt it down" with something else to cut the effect.

    Would love some 'Fern' and happy to work out a way to pay for shipment. Have been meaning to find them somewhere, but work keeps interfering with my life in the garden. have talked with Mitchell about building me some additional raised beds and had strawberries in mind for them.

    Everything looks like it's coming along well. Do you take that photo weekly, so you can see the changes?

  4. Well, I've just been catching up with many of your posts I hadn't had a chance to read yet... All gorgeous. The roof farm looks good, too. A what's better, it hasn't blown off yet (even though it did sound like it came close a few times...)

    Can't wait to see the blossoms...

  5. No room on that terrace to swing a cat. But I see he made is own arrangements. Looks very promising.

  6. protect those warmlings from the cold wind. That'll yellow them up too. Nursery tomatoes brought out of the greenhouse when temps are still low can turn yellow. They overcome it. A lot of Larry's earliest tomato seedlings were yellowed last year.

    No, I don't buy MG either. Probably because when I was a teenage gardener I thought dumping magic blue MG on everything was going to fix the problem. No, it didn't.

  7. Thanks, Anne!

    Jill, Ok, Ok, I'll let them breed :-)I'll holler when they are ready.

    webb - Yeah, I thought I was hedging my bets by using their "organic" mix rather than the stuff with chemical fertilizers, but it's not a great medium to work with. Do you mind if your 'Fern's are only ready after summer?

    Thank you, husband. Thank goodness the fig has no leaves yet or it would sail into the street. Get your lifting muscles ready for summer storms, though.

    Hen, I sometimes feel like swinging the cat.

    Frank, hm, thanks; maybe the cold is to blame, but I haven't done any protecting, thinking I'd hardened them up on the terrace. I used to do some guilty fertilizing with the blue stuff and it was the bomb. My reasoning was that in smaller pots there are precious few organisms to break down organic fertilizers to make it available to the plant. I'm not sure that I have changed my tune, but the guilt factor...In large containers, however, I have plenty of visible animal activity (earthworms), so I assume the microscopic ones are working away, too.

  8. YAY! :) I can't wait for strawberries.

    Side note: Because I had strawberries on the brain after seeing this post, I bought some big-box Driscoll's at the Garden of Eden last night and we had them with boiled eggs and cheese (okay, and spicy cappicolo) for breakfast. They were so unsatisfying. Nothing sun-warmed or mouthwateringly juicy about the lot. You have romanticized strawberries for me forevermore. Thanks a lot. ;)

    Another side question: Have you ever gotten any of the crazy heirloom veggies from Silver Heights Farm at the Union Square greenmarket before? I saw this week that they'll bring 8-flats of custom ordered plants into the city! I'm sure they're $$ but could be fun. Or maybe gimmicky, but I am a sucker.

  9. Jill, thanks for that link to Silver Heights. It's a good gimmick, my fingers are itching to plant them, thanks!

  10. I noted your post over at Selma's blog, how cool is this! Happy Gardening, looks like a whole lot of fun and good food on the way.

  11. Hi Marie,
    The strawberries have arrived safe and sound. Sent you an e-mail this morning. Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Monica - phew!!! Good luck :-)


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