Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The beginning of fruit...

That was Easter.

In the night, at 1.14am, I went out to the terrace because I could hear birds. Songbirds. It made no sense. I stood on a chair, skin wrapped in the cloud that had dropped softly on the city, looking around in the night, up at the faint orange glow above, reflecting off the bottom of the low fog and heard high, minute calls, pick! pick! pick! I decided that it must be a migration, that the cloud into which all buildings and lights had disappeared had made the little birds fly lower than usual, and that perhaps they call to each other in flight. I kept looking straight up, half expecting to see a flying bird-body...But nothing, just the pick pick! above and to the east. It lasted a good ten minutes. It was wonderful.

We had about half an hour of clear skies on Monday and bright sun before a fog bank pulled in and muffled us in new cloud.

I have so many strawberry flowers. I counted over 100. Overexcitement.

The roof farm - not much going on, I'm afraid. I lost e v e r y single cucumber! Everything else is hanging in there, but I see some instant, juvenile vegetables in my future. Not sure if growing them from seed is worth it for me, mostly because of the space taken up for all those weeks before they are planted out, and because I'm not prepared to protect them on the roof. I need seedlings who are marines, soldier!

The seed-growing is a lot of fun, and very distracting, and satisfies the urge to garden when a garden is not possible yet. But established seedlings are perhaps worth waiting for, and buying from a good grower. We'll talk in a few weeks. Maybe I will have changed my tune. Some good news - the broad beans are up and the roof squirrel appears not to like them. Oh, please note the addition of livestock...It's my Guard Sheep, brought to Brooklyn in my carry-on from Cape Town. To further perplex marauders it has around its neck a beaded Coptic cross from Ethiopia, given to me by a wild painter-girl many years ago, when I lived on Flatbush Avenue and she felt I needed strong muti against Troglodyte landlords, Mexican boyfriends and French restaurant owners.

Count on the microgreens. Very micro, but green. 

The climbing Iceberg on the terrace is covered in buds, and on the street, spring is busting out all over. I am the impatient gardener.


  1. Strawberry mother, I will take your daughters.

    It was early for cukes and they like cold and moist like cows like the bolt.

    I've got tomatoes....

  2. Getting back to the Japanese knotweed....is it not that plant one sees in offices where they are too lazy or mean to have real fresh flowers? Looks like a bamboo shoot ?

  3. I may have some daughtersfor you, Frank...trade?

    dinahmow, indeed.

    Hen - haha! That stuff is called lucky bamboo - when knotweed is mature it has branches and oval leaves, but they look similar at that early stage.

  4. I'm busy hardening off my courgettes, cucumber , green beans etc., hopefully to plant out in the next couple of weeks.

    I love micro greens, I'm eating my second lot now.

    I adore the picture of the buds against the vertical backdrop of the street, lovely!

  5. You are absolutely right about the birds, they were migrating. This is prime migration season, so you'll actually see the city turn off all the lights on the Empire State Building (and other large buildings too) soon because the lights confuse them and they crash into the buildings and die. It's very sad. The sound that you heard meant that they were indeed confused, most likely by the ambient light that the fog was trapping. A guy from Fordham came and did a talk at the Garden on night migration over the city recently. More parks, gardens and urban farms equal happier, healthier, less stressed migrating birds.

  6. Your garden looks happy, despite the unfortunate loss! Those strawberries sure do look overexcited, and seeing the fig like that makes me smile.

    About those seedlings: I went to Union Square in the rain last weekend (best time to go, no crowds to mess with!) and met those folks from Silver Heights. They had such an interesting selection of plants already --- I couldn't help myself from buying several types of lettuce / kale / radicchio / peas and more.

    The woman that runs the market is super sweet too! Just wanted to give you an update -- I'll definitely be back. :)

  7. I've been trying to get back here all day to write this: my seeds were totally a bust.

    They sprouted, but we didn't have enough light indoors to give then a proper upbringing.

    so they grew, long, thin, tendril like plants(?)

    They are in the compost. Except for peas and greens and whatever I can sow directly into the garden, I'm buying.

    I tried.


  8. Your fig tree is definitely ahead of mine, which just started to show signs of life. I'm surprised that the fruits form so early.

  9. Good Heavens! When I first saw that photo of the Guard Sheep, I thought it was Estorbo with a bad perm.


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