Urban Gardening – Pots + Plot

The Boy and I had an AWESOME long weekend.  One of the big plusses of this summer – no weddings.  Don’t get me wrong. I love a good wedding.  I have happily attended all of the weddings we’ve been invited to.  We’ve gone to events, and strongly support the “what goes around comes around” mantra (in life and in weddings).  When it was our turn – we appreciated each and every person who took the time out of their weekend to come and celebrate with us. But I think we can all agree – when almost every weekend of your summer is scheduled by either a friend’s wedding or wedding related event – it gets a bit much.  That was our summer last summer… we have been rewarded with no weddings this summer. What goes around comes around.  I’m a bit disappointed – I do love a good wedding, but mostly it’s just awesome to get to live by our own schedule.

And that brings us to the first long weekend and the official kick off of summer – Victoria Day.  She was a beauty. We golfed, we golfed again, we had dinner with the siblings, and we planted our garden.

That's some nice dirt.

This year we’ve got not only 9 pots, but a plot that we lovingly plowed and tilled. We’ve added A LOT of dirt and manure to try and turn our concrete rocky patch to a high yield local urban farm.

The ability to grow on land instead of a pot gives us a couple of bonus – mostly in terms of squash. Squash and melons grow along the ground.  A few years ago the Boy and I learned – they don’t grow so well in a pot.  Fingers crossed.

So what do we have?

16 pepper plants

8 broccoli

4 eggplant

4 red cabbage

a row of carrots (from seed)

1 fairytale pumpkin

1 sugar baby watermelon

Green and Yellow Zucchini  (seed)

6 tomatoes – 3 varieties – 2 in pots, 4 in ground

green beans (seed)

garlic (seed)

potatoes (seed – in ground and I think we’ll use the potato bag as well)

onions (seed)

basil x 2 varieties

parsley

corriander

thyme

oregano

rosemary

chives

We looked for butternut squash or acorn squash but couldn’t find either… next year.  We also had the BRILLIANT idea that we should plant beets – because they’re so delicious.  That thought was about 2 hours too late…  Next year.

Our plot is about 15’x 10′ according to the Boy.  According to me – 12’x8’…. but who’s counting.  We have a couple of new challenges with in ground planting.

  1. We have 3 Walnut trees that are behind our garden.  This is mildly concerning since a lot of plants won’t grow near a Walnut tree.
  2. We have 3 Walnut trees and a bunch of other trees around our garden.  One word – shade. Versus four words – Vegetables like full sun.
  3. Our backyard is North facing.
  4. We have animals.  While Gordon is on a leash when she’s in the back, the neighbours dog and the neighbourhood foxes, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels are not.
  5. Rain. Yesterday it POURED.  Turns out the drainage of our little plot – not the greatest.

In regards to all of these concerns we say – meh.  Our urban farming philosophy has always been, if it works, it works; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

The Boy is blissfully optimistic.  Optimistic but was out in the rain last night trying to improve the drainage.

If it works, we’ll have enough veggies for the entire neighbourhood. All at once.

Hopefully the Boy is right – but I’m also hoping our best harvest isn’t left to the neighbourhood animals when we’re away in the summer.

Fingers crossed.

marigolds are good tomato partners

What are you growing this year?

Mr. McGregor’s got nothing on us

Peter Rabbit reference anyone? It was my favourite when I was a little.  Who am I kidding? Still is.

Well, we don’t have bunny visitors since our garden is on the roof – but I’m telling you if they could get to us we would have a major bunny problem since thing are growing and super delicious looking.

Let’s face it, for a lot of things in this world words will do wonders for me, but for some – only pictures will do.

A recap:

We started here.

And where we were about two weeks ago

Some close-ups I’m thinking this year’s bumper crop might make for some fun kitchen art if/when we move

And because I’m just so darn impressed with them – and anxiously awaiting the harvest – check out these potato plants!

Muscle Beach 2012

We call our rooftop patio Muscle Beach.  At some point during our first summer here, our neighbour was throwing a bench press.  The Boy decided it was just what our patio needed. Other than that first night, it has never been used. But it adds character I suppose, and a name for the patio.  Muscle Beach. I told the Boy that we could part ways with it when we move from here.  The Boy says we’ll see.  We’ll see indeed.
Anyway, last weekend we opened up the beach and this was our conversation:
Boy – “Can you keep a journal of what we plant and when we planted, and update it every year?”
Me – “Yes”
10 minutes later
Boy – “Do you have a book to write down what we planted and track how well it does?”
Me – “No”
Boy – “How are you going to keep track?”
Me – “I write a blog, maybe you’ve heard of it?  That’s kind of what it’s for – keeping a history of things.
Boy – “Haha, oh yeah!”
So as per the Boy’s request – this is the 2012 Muscle Beach Round Up,
This year we got our crap together early and we planted on May 12. (The Boy wants to keep track of the date we plant.  I think it’s an OCD thing)
We’ve still got a couple of plants that need to go in, but so far we’ve got:
 
  • Golden Peppers
  • Purple Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
Potatoes are new for us, and so are Purple and Golden peppers (which means I can cross another one off my 101 in 1001 list). We did red peppers last year, and had sad little plants that each produced a single pepper.  The Boy went out to “harvest” and the squirrels/raccoons had beat us to it – they were all half eaten.
This year we’re trying to not crowd our containers.  While one tiny little plant looks pretty silly in a giant pot off the start, I’m hoping if we give them more room to grow, we’ll have more luck.
We’re picking up more pots this weekend, so I’d still like to add kale, and green onions.  The Boy wants to try broccoli but I think we’re too late. We try lettuce pretty unsuccessfully each year as well – but I’m thinking maybe this year will be the year.
This is our new Blue Jay friend – the Boy is very excited about his presence and made me take about 50 pictures. 
I’m cool with him as long as he stays out of my plants!