Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day in Harlem

Plants are beginning to grow. The clematis in the corner is aiming for the birch poles. It is going to be surprised when it doesn't see Henry Street below. 

Since I no longer have a neighboring blueberry, I'm checking pollinating options.

The Uvullaria are lasting quite well. Cool weather and rainy days have helped.

The violas will stay until the weather becomes hot.

And how did that winter cress (yellow rocket - Barbarea verna) get on the terrace? Well, perhaps it had a little help. For study purposes. Soon, it will be a side dish, with some of its friends.

Fava beans standing to attention. In about a week I'll start mowing their tops down for salads.


  1. I'm so glad to have a tour of all that is growing on the deck.Blackberries are now blooming in northwest Georgia which means all is good to go - we can plant all our hot weather veggies without fear of another cold snap. It was an exceptionally cold winter for this part of Georgia. I lost several established shrubs and vines - Confederate Jasmine, a gardenia. I have radish, beets, and English peas growing in raised beds now. Didn't get spinach or any out this year. Dogwoods and azaleas are finished for the most part while peonies, iris, and roses are in early bloom. Happy May!

  2. Do the same fava bean plants also still produce beans later on after you have harvested the tips for greens, or is it an either-or deal?

    1. For you and for Anne Maria below: Mostly either-or.

      If you pick all the leafy tips off the favas, you will lose the later flowers, and beans. When I had full sun (necessary for bean development) I used to leave a couple of plants to grow, no stealing of the tips. They made beans. Or you could pick tips for two weeks or so, and then let them bush out.

  3. Happy May to you from Germany!!
    I was going to ask the same as 'College Gardner'; it would be interesting to know about the fava bean plant. I'd also be interested in hearing whether you have experience of growing currants or gooseberries in containers? I'm wondering how large the pot would need to be to allow adequate root growth. Also, how well do bushes such as your blueberry winter in a container i.e. do they need protecting? Sorry for so many questions, but I'm a novice to growing on a balcony!
    Kind regards, Anne Maria

    1. Hi Anne Marie - see above for the bean question.

      I grew currants in a container, and still have raspberries and blueberries. Those are still very healthy. The currant produced well but succumbed to a disease in the end. The pots are abut 18" across and deep.

      Give your blueberry food for acid-loving plants - and I mulch mine twice a year with fresh ground coffee (not old, used coffee)! In winter I gave it a 1" layer of coffee beans :-)

      I am not sure what your winters are like but blueberries are hardy here as they evolved with cold, freezing winters. My raspberry also survived a terrible winter, where some of my roses did not.

      Gooseberries (Ribes, or what we call Cape gooseberries?): Cape gooseberries (Physalis) grow very well in containers, too, but are an annual in this climate. I have not grown the other gooseberry myself.

  4. Thanks for all the advice Marie! I've just finished planting all the herb pots I can fit onto my tiny kitchen balcony. Now I'm excited at the prospect of dragging my husband along to a garden centre to see if I can locate a couple of berry bushes for the big balcony. They are actually what I miss most from my house in the UK, where I had several bushes growing in the garden as well as rhubarb. Now I doubt rhubarb grows well in containers or am I wrong? Our Climate here in Wiesbaden is quite hot in the summers reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit for a few weeks (sometimes exceeding 100 like last year - I was told by locals that it was unusual), but winters can be bitter (not as cold as Finland though) getting as cold as 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit at times. So I guess it can be called moderate, but not quite so much as Cornwall.
    Regards, Anne Maria


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