Quite simply, the Next Big Thing is going to be veggies. Lots and lots of veggies. Heirloom tomatoes, offbeat salad greens and stuff like that. All organically grown, of course. By us. – from Toronto Star “Urban Gardeners Are Growing Local” (July 7, 2007.)
Many of us have known it all along by I am excited and encouraged by how much the media is catching onto the fact that gardeners are growing food. Yes, with the seemingly limitless plant choices available to us in this day and age gardeners are choosing to grow vegetable crops. And as crazy as it sounds some of us actually value edible plants for their beauty, tucking them into perennial beds and artistically designing entire gardens around and with them. The days of sticking our noses up at veggie gardening is a snooty, short-sighted, old-school concept that most of us are more than happy to be rid of once and for all.
I’ve never been interested in announcing trends because my fear is that once you announce something as a fad its shelf-life decreases — I am much more interested in real, long-term change. However veggie gardening and urban agriculture aren’t just passing flavors-of-the-week but lifestyle choices many gardeners have been quietly going about their business with for a long time and I think I speak for many of us when I say that we are more than happy to see its popularity rise exponentially.
“Sales of vegetable seeds soared last year, outstripping those of flowers for the first time since the 1950s.” – from Toronto Star Article
Awesome! And incidentally the post WW2 era just happens to mark a cultural shift towards looking at food gardening as a low class activity. Could it be that we are FINALLY kicking that 50′s era conservatism to the curb?
Thanks to Sonia Day for this fantastic article.
According to the Simon & Schuster blog, I rank number 9 (for “You Grow Girl“) in Simon & Schuster’s list of top selling Canadian authors so far in 2007. That’s only 3 places behind Canadian artist/writer/designer mega star Douglas Coupland (for his two S&S published books “Shampoo Planet” and “Life After God.”)
My mind is officially blown.
We just added four new button styles to our store. What’s more, you now have the option of buying any four buttons of your choosing from a selection of nine different styles.
Buy four of the same design if it suits your fancy. We don’t judge.
Aka The Great Yearly Event in Which I Grant Myself Permission to Pig Out on More Herbs Than You Can Shake a Stick At.
I went. I smelled. Money left my wallet. I went home with an allergy attack and a cart full of glorious, smellerific plants.
Here’s what everyone wants to see:
- ‘Red Gem’ and ‘Tangerine Gem’ Marigolds – Have I sold you on these yet? I’ve been shouting high and low about these for years and they’re still not as popular as I’d like them to be. In fact I did not grow any from seed because they were so easy to find last year. 4 for a buck. This year, NOTHING. Now I’ve been reduced to purchasing these at 2 bucks a pop.
- Virginia Mountain Mint
- Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) – A native carnivorous plant. I purchased this one from the North American Native Plant Society. There is a large cocoon snug inside one of the old pitchers. Only time will tell what will emerge from within. We wait and watch with fear and excitement.
- Coconut Geranium – My scented geranium collection is seriously out-of-hand. Have I mentioned how I really do not need more plants to over-winter? You should see it though. It’s the small leaved type with delicate little purple/pink flowers. Sigh.
- Peppermint Geranium – I have a variegated type but this one has irresistably soft and fuzzy leaves.
- Sweet Marjoram
- Basils – I won’t list all the varieties, of which there are many. Several in fact. This list might go on for days.
- Perilla ‘Britton’ – I grew this two-toned leaf variety last year and it was such a hit I thought I’d try it again.
- ‘Purple Beauty’ Pepper – A sweet bell pepper that I can’t recommend enough. It does well in medium-sized containers (try at least a foot and a half deep) with fruit that starts out purple so you don’t have to slug it out through boring green bells waiting for a colour change.
- ‘Black Pineapple’ Tomato – Colette of Urban Harvest describes it as “ugly but delicious.” She’s been trying to sell it to me all season-long and frankly I just don’t have the fortitude and willpower necessary to resist a black tomato.
- Orange Thyme – One of my favourite thyme varieties. There are an astonishing number beyond the usual — please don’t make me choose just one. This one features a very low trailing habit with spikey leaves that carry a sweet n’ spicey orange scent.
- Lemon Eucalyptus – I could not resist the strong, fresh lemon scent and the delicate, floppy leaves. I do not need another plant to overwinter! Why do I do this to myself?
I also received a couple of basils and eggplants in trade. Now I just have to get these things planted!
Previously: 2005, 2004, 2003… and so on.
Now I know why I neglected to write a yearly update after last year’s event… too many plants!
I have a great deal to tell you about the gardening I have been doing over the past weeks. But before I can do that the marginally anal retentive side of me demands that I address my appearance on The National last night. The segment was arranged at the last minute and we had not yet done our seasonal clean-up so there was winter junk strewn about. I had hoped the camera guy could do some “creative” in-camera editing but knew that probably wasn’t the case since he was using a very wide lens. When he walked over to the far end of the deck to take shots of the whole thing I knew my dirty secret was blown and that viewers across Canada would see that sometimes my little rooftop oasis looks like crap! And I imagined that they watched the segment and thought to themselves why go to the trouble when it looks so awful.
In an effort to ever-so-slightly redeem myself in the eyes of the world I present to you photographic evidence that a rooftop container garden IS a beautiful thing.
You can see lots more pictures taken of the rooftop garden over the years on my Flickr account.