I picked up this gorgeous and awesomely huge sage plant for a buck fifty a few days ago. Okay sure I already have more sage than I can shake a stick at but you know how it is…. It was so big and beautiful and only a buck fifty people! They charge more for candy bars these days. A comparison/justification that would have an ounce of relevancy if I actually ate candy bars. Most sale herbs look a little worse-for-wear if not completely dead because they can’t withstand the drought in the tight transplant boxes but sage is always a good choice because it just gets bigger and bigger in those little pots. I caught the sale while riding my bike past a small corner shop/plant store that was itching to get rid of their over-sized herbs. I will admit that I have been going out of my way on bike lately in an effort to keep tabs on just about every garden store I know. I bragged to a friend that I’ve got the entire west end of Toronto mapped out in my head according to who’s got what, what looks better where, cost, and if the sales are on yet.
With the heat rising to oppressive levels here in Toronto, the pressure to get things planted or sold off seems to have arrived earlier than ever this year. Yeah, I definitely don’t have enough guilt as-is. I came home with my bike basket overflowing with plants the other day — partly because I am the Angelina Jolie of the plant world (minus the lips) with my insatiable need to expand the brood and partly because I just felt so dang bad for that nasturtium (or three. Twelve if you count that they come 4 per pack).
Colette of Urban Harvest has started selling her plants at reduced prices (I could not resist more basil!) and FoodShare had their annual plant giveaway yesterday afternoon. I said I was going to support a friend and check out the action but walked away with a very hot n’ spicy mustard plant. Thankfully I did not feel bad for the flowers that were left behind. Mostly.
A dull but constant sense of panic is creeping in over the transplants that are still sitting in the holding area outside. The transplants! They are not planted! Everything else is getting huge and yet the stragglers sit out there in those smallish pots waiting to get into some soil. How can I so cruely deny them? And yet I can’t stop bringing new plants home. Because soon it will be harder to find certain plants as the season slows down and so the urge to go out and find more plants to add to a collection that can’t possibly be enough takes hold and the cycle continues.
This is what it looked like today. There was a third ripe strawberry this morning but a certain someone (hint: rhymes with Gavin) got to it before I could take some photos.
What it looked like at planting time a few weeks ago.
Turns out that plants, they grow!
As I type this, one third of my rooftop garden sits on the floor in my living room. A second third of the garden is cluttering up the hallway around our front door. “Come on in friendly visitor! But first brave this minefield of plants, soil, and containers.” The final third remains outside. They were either impossible to transport or cold hardy enough to stay outdoors during last night’s reported RISK OF FROST, dated June 5, 2007. In June. Five days into the month of June in the year 2007. Just days after sweating to the oldies with RISK OF BURNING UP while adding new plants to my community garden plot.
Who loves climate change now?
We constructed this tent system for the garbage can-grown tomatoes that could not be moved. We used a huge piece of canvas cloth and the existing tripod stakes in the containers as support. The tomatoes look fine but the tomatillo is not taking it well at all. I’ve left this insane structure in place since it is still very cold and windy out there. The rooftop deck is exposed on three sides so the wind is a lot more intense than on the ground.
On a positive note I ate my first peas of the season this morning and ‘Whipper Snapper’ (aka ‘Whippersnapper’) is still going strong having begun making itty bitty tomatoes sometime around last Friday. At this rate, and if the real June ever decides to return, we should have our first tomatoes before July 1.
Can you believe this? RISK OF FROST. It is June 5!! We are well past the safe date in this region!
And as an aside, ahem, can you believe my awesomely instructive and informative graphic? Fades, arrows, highlights, and drop shadows. I had to reach deep into my USA Today brand pool of design tricks to create this little number. Carrying on.
I was out on the rooftop deck this morning giving the plants a once-over as usual when I looked to the east and saw an ominous view.
The wind was whipping at incredibly high speeds, the air was very cold, and the sky threatened nucleur fallout. I high-tailed it inside and closed the windows in time to avoid a hardcore downpour. It was unrelenting. And yet in my naive, It’s practically summer nothing can stop us now! haze it did not occur to me that I should bring some of the tender plants indoors or provide even the smallest bit of protection for them against the high winds. By late afternoon it finally dawned on me that t-shirt weather had indeed left the building so-to-speak so I ran outside and began pulling sad and floppy plants indoors as quickly as possible.
There is no rhyme or reason to the damage. Some peppers are as sturdy and strong as ever, while others are floppy and sad. Some tomatoes have completely flattened out and others are just as healthy as can be. Just about all of my hardening-off cucumbers and gherkins are slowly wasting away.
Yet despite the possible plant carnage I may be facing tomorrow I found myself taking on an air of superiority thinking about how right I was to recommend cloches for basil and other tender annuals during my appearance on the Gil Deacon Show last month, the topic of which was incidently on Gardening with Climate Change.
And then I had to laugh at myself because people, once again I did not take my own advice.
It’s a scorcher out there today so I thought I’d share my recipe for a favourite summer refresher. I just came indoors after a full day out in the garden and this drink was exactly the right cool down treat.
- 1 frozen banana, chopped
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 2-3 cups chocolate rice milk (less milk makes a thicker shake)
- 1/2 cup plain yoghurt (this is optional but makes a smoother drink)
- Optional: 1 tbsp cocoa powder (makes an extra chocolatey drink)
1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend.
2. Pour into a chilled glass.