Sunday, March 28, 2010

Finally Sowing

Leaving my plants for 3 months means relying on nature to take care of them as best she can, and when indoors, relying on family. Guess who did a better job? Before I left, my thyme and rosemary were thriving indoors and I had a bumper crop of window basil. I came home to find them all crispy. Somehow, it seems to happen every year, whether my fault or my parents'. So, Friday, I headed to Union Square Green Market and picked up some herbs from the same seller I trust every year. 3 pots for $5, but I guess earlier in the season some types sell for a premium so this thyme was 2 pots for $5. I have lemon thyme to the left and silver thyme to the right. I split a small piece off of both plants in order to keep some inside. I kept the larger portions buried in small containers to make it easier to remove them when it's warm enough to plant out on the roof.
Here from left to right, I have italian oregano, rosemary, and spearmint (3 for $5). I did the same splitting thing to the mint. The oregano and rosemary will have to be propagated by cutting later. Usually, I'm growing basil as well, but I'm all out of seeds. I tried to save seed last year, but it appears that all of those seeds are duds. Maybe indoor basil doesn't pollinate itself very well, even though it loves to send up flowers.
And, finally, I sowed my tomatoes to the left, lettuce bottom right, and spinach top right. When I'm not growing my own salads, I get 1lb containers of baby spinach from whole foods and I realized they might be perfect for starting small seedlings. They seal completely, so I can leave them on the fire escape when they sprout, without fearing that the street exhaust will get all over them, though I'll have to remember to open them every day for some air exchange. I got the container for tomatoes from a package of kiwis my family bought from Costco. Perfectly, it has 6 separate pits for the different plants and plenty of headroom for early growth. I've grown 3 varieties, Black Krim (my favorite from last time), Bloody Butcher (because again I have no Stupice seeds) and Pearly Pink (an intriguing new variety from my tomato seed archive).
When I accumulate more containers, I'll start some arugula. Normally around this time of year, I also start my sugar ann snap peas, but I'm all out of seeds and if I were to wait any longer, they'd be too late. Instead, I do have several new varieties of beets I'll grow this year. More to come on those in a future post =)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring means back to the weirdest gardening there is

Before getting to the garden part, I thought I'd share just how ODD gardening on a Manhattan rooftop can truly be. I came out of my roof hatch to find 2 full pairs of one-piece booted coveralls, covered in mud, right by the hatch. As if there is a pool of red mud somewhere nearby my building? (definitely NOT). Is there some fishing stream I just never knew about? Perhaps they came from a portal to another dimension... my roof has a wormhole!!! Or maybe New Yorkers are just plain freaky.
There isn't a ton going on in the garden, but that's to be expected. The blueberries are covered in flowers, but with my blueberry luck, I won't get a single berry. I think the problem last year was poor pollination due to inadequate pollinators in early spring.
The window boxes have really come into their own, though it's hard to tell here. But, almost every inch of soil is grown over with something I planted on purpose! There are lots of low growing, creeping ground covers that should flower throughout the spring and summer. A lot of my lavendar plants didn't make it, but the 2 that did look strong and I'll try dividing them at some point.
Next to some creeping phlox, this little low-grower will soon send little 6" stalks into the air, topped with small pink flower balls.
The branch of juniper I chopped from my mom's plant and abused heartily before planting seems to have made it. There are a bunch of brown parts, but these are definitely new buds of growth.
More to come as the season goes on. I'm already behind schedules compared to the last time I planted tomatoes! Being a lawyer makes me a lousier gardener, but I'll keep trying.