CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for July, 2009

It’s deja vu: plants have to be hauled inside – one last time

DSC00640DSC00631DSC00636If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve read about how work on the exterior of my building has been interfering with my balcony garden. I had to move all the plants — herbs, flowers, heirloom tomatoes — inside for nearly two weeks! And once they were back outside there was still the issue of mortar dust blowing about.

Well, the dust has finally settled, but instead of being able to kick back and relax in the garden I had to move the plants inside — all over again! This time it was because our association mandated painting of the balcony railings and washing and sealing of the wooden deck flooring.

So, I was up at 7 on Tuesday morning hauling three 36-inch boxes of flowering and trailing plants, two 36-inch boxes of herbs and edibles, Read the rest of this entry »

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Rain is good for the garden harvest and can be harvested

DSC00435DSC00440It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do to set plants on a healing path. Follow that with a dose of drenching rain and the most beleaguered of gardens will soon make a recovery.

One of the pitfalls of container gardening is that the sun which nourishes also tends to dry my plants out quickly, so frequent watering is a must. By the end of summer, skipping even a day can leave me with brown, shriveled flowering plants and edibles.

And while I’m committed to regular hoisting of the watering can, I’m always grateful when an all-day rain gives me a little relief. Plus, the plants Read the rest of this entry »

Tomato rites of passage: hoops and hoopla as first fruit emerge

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DSC00565The proudest moment for an heirloom tomato parent arrived in recent days with much pomp and circumstance: my plants had graduated to the point where it was time for the ceremonial “presentation of the hoops.”

Hoops being those wire support systems that, when inverted, look like the framework beneath all those crinoline skirts of a century ago.

I’ve learned the hard way that if you wait too long to slip them over the tender stems of your tomatoes you can damage the plants trying to squeeze them in later.

If you haven’t been following the evolution of my Read the rest of this entry »

Growth: Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there

DSC00546DSC00548I’ve been slow to post this week for the simple reason that I felt like not much was happening in my garden.

Replacements for lost plants had been set out and new seeds sown where necessary. The weather has been warm and sunny. I’ve been diligent about my watering and feeding. And, the drama going on with the repairs to my building seems to be in its last gasp.

So, it was the plants’ turn to get busy and fulfill the lush, colorful vision I put forth for my balcony Read the rest of this entry »

Time to play ‘name that plant’ (or ‘plants,’ as the case may be)

DSC00479DSC00480There’s something growing in my garden. That’s the good news.

The more perplexing news is that in this particular case I’m not sure of what exactly it is.

You see, a terra cotta pot from last season that sat on the balcony through the winter sprouted and filled up with so many lovely, dainty leaves that I decided to just let it be and see what developed.

It’s developed into what you see here: a profusion of lacy edged leaves with some taller spikes boasting thinner leaves protruding at intervals. And now it looks as though those spiky protrusions are on the verge of flowering. (Click Read the rest of this entry »

Progress report: Hey, there’s actual progress to report!

DSC00467DSC00466DSC00471The 4th of July was the kind of day every garden needs — to my mind, at least once a week or so. It rained all day, not a hard, raucous rain, but a soft and gentle one. A rain that caressed the plants — from leaf to root — encouraging them to new heights.

And, of course, it gave the weary container gardener a day’s reprieve from having to hoist the watering vessel.

By Sunday morning the rain was a misty memory, and by the afternoon I was able to get out on the balcony and take advantage of the last day of the three-day hiatus from workers doing their best Spider-man impressions on the south face of our building.

I surveyed the planters and pots and took stock of what needed to be done to fill in the thin spots. I think I’ve mentioned before that I had extra plants in a flat that I held on to in case I needed to replace Read the rest of this entry »

Lots of places where gardens could take root in cities

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Blue wildflowers suggest there's a garden longing to bloom on this undeveloped site.

There’s a conspicuously vacant lot on my block.

Its original low-rise buildings were razed some time ago in anticipation of the coming of a condominium tower. But that work ground to a halt a few months back — perhaps another casualty of these tough economic times.

Despite the building boom of the last 10 years, it’s not the only undeveloped plot of land I spied while driving through my downtown neighborhood. There was even one that seemed to be spontaneously becoming a garden, with pretty blue flowers popping up on its perimeter.

I immediately switched into “what if” mode: What if Read the rest of this entry »