Monday, May 14, 2007

Awesome Boyfriend = Brooklyn Compost = Happy Plants = Happy Laura

The roof garden has changed a lot over the past few days. Saturday, I dragged the faithful and enduring boyfriend to Brooklyn with my suitcase, backpack, and old-lady-shopping-cart to the Annual Brooklyn Compost Giveback. We arrived at 1:57pm, 3 minutes before they closed the gates to plant heaven. We ran inside, bought 6 bags made for creating sandbags 2 for $1, borrowed a shovel and got to work. CJ did most of the work, but I held bags open! Frantically we filled 5 bags as the Giveback organizers yelled over the speakerphone about how much they loved us, but that it was time to go.Then, came the long trek home. Of all the other happy compost lovers there, we were the only ones without a car. But we had wheels! The NYC Sanitation department workers laughed and asked us if we were headed to the airport... > 1 mile to the subway pushing/pulling/carrying what was probably over 200lbs of compost. As we approached the subway stop, we saw an elevator above ground and thought, "Today is our lucky day!" Sadly, when we got inside, the elevator refused to go down. Down the steps CJ went, taking 2 trips to carry the 5 bags of compost we had collected. And every set of steps we encountered, the boy lugged those bags and reminded me exactly why I like him soooo much. What other sandy blonde law student would take the subway an hour from home to dig up and lug hundreds of pounds of compost back to manhattan for this crazy gardener? That's dedication.

So, today I bought a bag of peat moss, brought it and a few bags of the compost up on the roof and got to work. I filled up 6 30" window boxes with a 50/50 mix of peatmoss and compost. Then, planted my strawberries and gave them a good watering. I got 25 honeoye and 25 ozark beauty from gurneys and planted 9 of each variety. That's really all I had room for and the rest are sitting in the hallway with a wet paper towel covering them in case the ones up there don't make it.

I also repotted my tomatoes, which I had been worried about because they seemed dry every time I came to visit them over the past couple weeks (I was busy and couldn't make it by very often). But, when I took them from their 6" pots their roots had clearly extended from the plugs they came in and gotten through the rest of the soil. They seem to be doing well and both now have flowers. I melted holes into the bottom of 2 5 gallon buckets with a soldering iron and filled them with brooklyn compost, peatmoss, and vermicompost complete with worms and other undecomposed organic garbage (I received a wormbin for free several weeks ago but it was in bad shape and I've decided to start over). I also added about half a dozen's worth of crushed egg shells in each bucket for calcium, which prevents blossom end rot on tomatoes. I snipped off the lower leaves of each plant and buried it "up to its neck" in its own bucket and gave them a good watering. Tomatoes can be buried this way because they grow more roots from the stem, which produces a good strong plant.
So far so good in the rooftop garden!

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