Monday, June 13, 2011


Sunday and the little terrace garden was a mess of moved pots and weeds and pruned rosehips and transplanted herbs.

I found two cucumbers, ripe. We ate them in a salad of wizened roof radishes and fresh young garlic. My roof farm is not off to a good start. I would like to blame it on the Miracle Gro Organic Choice as that is the only variable between this year and the lushness of last. And if it's not the soil, it's me! Everything seems stunted, the radishes and microgreens were just awful, and the beans are trying to throw themselves from the roof. What is going on? I will never buy that stuff again.

The soil I am using now is Whitney Farms Organic Potting Soil, and I like the texture - crumbly and soft, not huge chunks of bark, like the Miracle Gro. But Fafard still gets my vote, every time, plus Lower East Side worm compost.

The raspberries are ripening. I would love to have more.

Bring out the Bonide. The climbing Iceberg is ready to bite the dust, thanks to a massive black spot attack. My fault for not clearing the terrace of leaves last year. Bonide's active ingredient is neem oil. Today's was the second application. I spray from the roof and from the terrace. New leaves are emerging after leaf drop, and we shall see. The New Dawn, whose hips are in front of the spray bottle, is impervious to black spot. So are the two David Austins.

So this was our first, tiny rooftop crop. I pulled the garlic early, weeded out the only radishes to have made bulbs, and must think what to plant in the troughs, now.

The terrace has been restored to order, meanwhile, and we ate outside with a cool wind and the warm fire at my back. We braaied some of our new boerewors and grilled cheese sandwiches over the coals.

We felt as though were in the middle of the desert, and needed only the barking geckos and blow up mattress to complete the effect.


  1. There was a study of all the major commercial fungicides (blackspot cures), plus every natural remedy ever spouted by your great-grandmother, Jerry Baker, or Aunt Maude, done by the University of MN a couple years back. The winner for blackspot control, by a significant amount: 2% milk and water mixture (1:1). I wish this would get more play. Obviously the Dairy Board of WI has not heard and the "Happy Cows" in CA could care less.

  2. "Bring out the Bonide" know I read that sentence as 'Bromide" and wondered what the Frenchy had done to warrant such punishment!!
    Also wanted to say about the boerewors,that if you have a spicy wors,which has been cooked on a braai then Mrs Balls peach chutney is a great counter point taste.

  3. Hi Rachelle - I have read about the milk, yes! I must ask Sarah about the milk mix - she's the rosarian at the BBG. I know they have the abandoned the Cornell mix. I'm OK using Neem oil, but yes, if milk works, I'm all for it.

    Mal - is jy op Facebook onder nog 'n pseudonaam? Ja, I can't help thinking Bromide, either! Thanks for the chutney masterclass. Next time...

  4. About the milk spray - yes, it is effective, but you will need to continue once started.I believe Poulsens, the Danish breeders(of roses) trialled it quite a while ago.It worked for my Mme Oger, which hated the summer heat.For good measure I also sprayed Reine des Violettes which was nearby.
    And if your potting mix had "chunks of bark" that may be your culprit. Especially if pine bark. "Raw" bark can exude something which inhibits growth.

    And, please tell, what is the Beady Sheep doing? Not stealing your G&T I hope!

  5. hmm. Vegetables not growing. All kinds of possible reasons. BUT, you needed proof the miracle grow was no good, and now you got it. But hardly would it be you, unless you did all the wrong things, which is unlikely. Sometimes it's just conditions.

    Was it the kind of potting soil with fertilizer incorporated?

  6. I am seriously loving your disarray!

  7. Wow. I was wondering where our early summer went. Looks like it decided to take a vacation to NY.

    We're just BARELY getting the first sweet peas and strawberries this week.


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