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.
We enjoyed our first ripe strawberry of the season this morning. Nothing beats the sweet, sweet deliciousness of an organic, homegrown strawberry. Strawberries are probably the easiest fruit to grow in containers and do very well in hanging baskets, strawberry pots, or window boxes on sunny decks and balconies. I give mine little more than a little sea kelp and vermicompost (worm poo) fertilizer now and again and am sure to keep the soil consistently moist without drying out. The hybrids can take a bit of drought but I try not to push the plants too hard in order to get as much juicy, sweet fruit as possible.
This year I am growing both a pink flowering and a white flowering, everbearing hybrid that will produce two crops of berries, one this month and the second in late-summer/early-fall. Our first strawberry actually came from the canister plant but I missed getting a snap of it in Davin’s eagerness to taste. With today’s heat and humidity the berry shown in the above image should be ready by this evening!
What to do with a lone strawberry plant leftover from another soon-to-be-revealed project, a small flat of red violas ($3.50 for 16 plants!), and an old coffee canister that was thrifted as part of a 70s era fake woodgrain 4 part kitchen canister set?
Put them together!
I figure the red viola flowers will look great alongside the red strawberries and everything is edible. I poked holes in the bottom of the canister using a large, and very dangerous nail left behind by the dudes who installed new gutters on our building, filled the new “pot” with container soil, and mulched the top using shards from a terracotta pot that broke in transit — nothing is wasted! And to think I used to smirk at my grandmother’s tendancy to hourd Swiss Chalet containers and plastic bread ties — there was a lot of useful crap in those drawers!
It’s been about a week since I planted this up and I’ve already got little strawberries forming and new flowers in bloom.
Total cost about $2.