A green space for urban gardeners

Picking flowers, part 2: respect your space

A zip tie kept this black plum heirloom tomato secure.

I use zip ties to fasten the metal hoops of my black plum heirloom tomatoes to the railing.

“To thine own ‘exposure’ be true.” Not exactly Shakespeare, but if you follow these simple words when choosing your plants I guarantee you will achieve some level of success in your garden. That means if you have partial shade, don’t pick flowers that need full sun to thrive — no matter how pretty they look on the rack at the nursery.We can extend this concept to mean respecting the complete range of variables that impact your garden.

For instance, my unprotected balcony is in direct sun, which means things can grow pretty quickly but it also means that if I skip watering for even a day in summer’s heat they can turn into dried flowers equally fast. (Note: I don’t do crafts.) So, for me, part of respecting the peculiarities of my own garden is watering religiously and constant feeding to replace the nutrients the heavy watering flushes out of my containers.

And, because the space is so unprotected — no balconies aligned above it, no buildings directly adjacent — there’s basically nothing to shield it from nasty weather flare-ups like hail and wind. (I admit I learned this lesson the hard way: after scrambling around in the dark of night under drenching rain desperately trying to right heirloom tomato pots being whipped about by gale-force winds.)

I now secure my heirloom tomatoes by using zip ties to fasten the metal hoops to the balcony railing.

[What conditions do you think will influence how your garden grows? What are some of the things that have gone wrong before? Hit me with some of your problems and we’ll come up with ways to work around them. And, I’ll tell you some of the plants I’ve selected for this year — both returning favorites and first-timers…]

1 Comment»

  Lynne Jordan wrote @

Great post! I had a fuschia tree that got infested with bugs twice! I cured it both times but when the little buggars returned the third time… I got rid of the plant. Basically, I learned that they become vulnerable if you don’t water them properly.

I have full sun (southern X) with overhead, full shade, AND eastern exposure so I really had to shuffle the watering about.

Can’t wait till the Spring.

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