Sunday, June 26, 2011

Roof farm

This nasturtium is happy. Funny, up here the plants are tiny, stunted and packed with flowers. On the terrace below they are gangly, full of broad green leaves, with few flowers; the difference between full sun and much shade. I may prefer the lankier ones as I intend to eat many leaves. I still have an aversion to eating nasturtium blossoms. I am working on it, but it feels like chewing butterflies.

I used to eat the leaves against sore throats when I was a teenager and in my Margaret Roberts phase (the early, illustrated, out-of-print books about medicinal and edible plants, wild and cultivated, are so much better than the rather horrid website - the idea of "Fairy Ship" gives me the heebie jeebies).

The long shallow troughs have not done well this year.* Last year they were popping with mesclun.

I am still curious about the slow start on the roof farm. Only now, after feeding, have things started to perk up and green up (two weeks ago many leaves were yellow). Above the Sugar Baby watermelons clamber over the beaded sheep.

These are red pear tomatoes with volunteer nicotiana, which is interesting - I had one nicotiana plant on the terrace way below. How did the seeds get up and over here? I love the plants but may give them away. They make good gifts for new gardeners. I am nursing a dozen hardy begonias for the same purpose, all sprouted on the terrace floor. I had no idea they were so prolific or easy.

And suddenly I have lettuce, some of which overwintered. Really odd. I had thought it was too late.

* It occurs to me suddenly that my troughs may simply be too hot. Last year they were on the silvertop roof. This year they are on the bluestone-clad parapet wall between our roof and Raccoon House's roof and the hot bluestone must heat up the soil in the pots. Poor things. I will move them tomorrow.
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