Saturday, April 2, 2011

Good News, Bad News

There's some good news and some bad news in the garden today. I'll start with the good news. Last year, I didn't hook up the automatic watering system until June 5th and depended on mother nature to water all my plants. That resulted in many dead plants, including (or so I thought) my Tulameen Raspberry plant, which I do dearly love. Turns out the Tulameen survived after all! You can see new leaves popping up from the bottom, here, surrounded by darker strawberry leaves. I'll be removing the strawberries after they have their season.
More good news, I planted my potatoes! Here are the white potatoes I got from FreshDirect, didn't eat, and let sprout on my window sill. Many potatoes that you buy at the supermarket will have been sprayed with some kind of anti-sprouting agent, to keep them edible for longer. These were probably sprayed, as not all of their eyes have sprouted, but a few did and I want to experiment.
They went into a half-filled 5-gallon bucket. I covered them with about an inch of soil after this picture was taken. Here's to hoping! When planting potatoes in containers, I've read many recommendations that you add soil as the plant grows because the potatoes grow from the stem of the plant. If you add soil, more potatoes will have the chance to form. I read one recommendation that you should aim to have 1 foot of growth above the soil line throughout the growing season. I won't get to add MUCH more soil, but maybe another 10 inches or so. These may also be spaced too closely, but it's an experiment. We'll see what happens =)
These are my blue potatoes, which are planted in a large blue bucket my neighbors left on my roof. I covered these with more soil after taking the picture. They will also be covered with more soil as they grow taller. I've read that potatoes like acidic soil. These are planted with some compost made from orange rinds, so should be plenty acidic!
More good (or at least not bad) news! The hydroponic veggies are not dead. They have even grown a tiny bit! But, they did appear to be drowning a little, so I raised them all slightly out of the water, by adding a small piece of bamboo stick between the peat pots and the styrofoam. It lets the peat pots sit just a bit higher out of the styrofoam hole than they were previously. I'm waiting for some exponential growth now =)
Ok, here's the bad news. The pigeons got to the peas! I HATE THE PIGEONS. They sometimes chomp on the peas and sometimes pull them right out of the soil and let them die above ground, like this one:
A couple of years back, I bought bird netting, but I was just too lazy to actually put any up. I've gotten over my laziness now. It doesn't look pretty, but vegetable gardening isn't always a glamorous thing. Function over form, people. Function over form.


meemsnyc said...

Sounds like a cool potato experiment! Ugh, pigeons, we have the same problem here but with squirrels. They eat everything, those jerks. LOL

Laura said...

Yeah, ugh!!! I don't thiiink it's squirrels digging around in my garden, because I've never seen one on my roof. But if the garden were nearer to squirrels I'd probably blame them for all the holes that are dug in my pots. It's almost shocking that birds would do it.

leon said...

Hi Laura!

I just stumbled over your blog. Unfortunately I couldn’t find an email address, so I’ll give this a try! Leon, my boyfriend and I, we’re both photo students from Germany, I’m currently living in doing an internship in New York and we’re working on a photo essay about urban agriculture. It would be great to talk to you or even take a look at your little farm, if that is somehow possible. I wanted to send you a brief overview of the pictures we’ve done so far (we’ve been to Roberta’s, BK Farmyards, Red Hook and Automotive Highschool and we’ll go to see Goodyoga in Greenpoint now, as they have a small rooftop farm as well), so if you leave me you’re email address or any way it would be nice to hear from you!

Thank you,
Leon and Maria

347 440 8581

LifeOnMulberry said...

Hi there! Stumbled on your blog today. I've planted my first raspberry and blackberry pots today (from seedlings). I didn't even THINK of animals as an enemy, given that I'm on a rooftop too. But your blog got me thinking about rats as well.

Did you purchase the bird netting online or in the city? Any rat prevention measures necessary?

Laura said...

Leon & Maria, Thanks for your message! I will get back to you via e-mail.

LifeOnMulberry, I don't know if we have rats, but I don't think we do. I would take measures against birds if you think they could be a problem. I got the bird netting on Amazon! Good luck with your raspberry and blackberry!

LifeOnMulberry said...

Thank you, Laura, for responding to my bird net question!

Green Roofs said...

Bad, bad pigeons! :(

Richard Boles said...

I thought a rooftop can protect your plants from damages from squirrels and the like, but I've never thought about pigeons. Anyway, good luck with your seedlings. Any plans on making a rooftop greenhouse?

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Rooftop is home for pigeons.... Caging/ netting will make plants safe, but would be unsightly.

Laura said...

I do want to build a rooftop greenhouse one day, but it would be far in the future. I tried putting up a small vinyl one (bought on amazon) one time and it was lost or stolen. From my roof!!

Speaking of pigeons and netting, it may be time to put some around my blueberries and blackberries, as they are done with flowers and starting to fruit.

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