Aside from several handfuls of ‘Whippersnapper’ tomatoes that started ripening over a month ago there have been tomatoes here and there but not in the numbers we’re starting to see on the roof and over at the community garden plot. Despite a tray-full like this I am still eying clusters of green tomatoes dripping off the vines at the garden plot, willing them to ripen faster. I’m anxious to reach that point where the tomatoes are so abundant that we’re nearly drowning in them.
You would not believe how monstrous and prolific the ‘Zapotec Pink Pleated’ plants are! It’s been hard work keeping the plants pruned and staked. The minute I turn my back there is another fruit-laden branch flopping over and threatening to break off.
…Because I had to post something a little more optimistic. Both of these Polaroids were taken this morning on my rooftop. The ‘Miniature White‘ cucumber variety is a lot less yellow then as seen in this photo as the Polaroid film has a yellow cast. It is the largest of a bunch of cucumbers that are soon to be harvested from the rooftop garden. The plant is growing in a garbage bin and the zinnias are growing in an old flour canister.
You can see the photos larger here.
The heat has been oppressive around here over the past few days but since I am such a glass half-full person (uh huh) I choose to overlook the stink of my fellow bus passengers and the inability to breath air, and instead turn towards the bright side of intense heat: rapid plant growth and sun tea.
In theory, sun tea is supposed to be better than tea made using boiled water because the sun slowly, and gently infuses the water with all the goodness of the herbs instead of the bitter oils that are brought out with rapid brewing. But when the temperatures reach into the 30s and 40s C I could care less about all that jazz. Give me lazy! All the accomplishment with none of the effort. Sun tea is ridiculously easy to make, about as easy as making tea without the difficult chore of filling the kettle, turning the kettle on, waiting for the boil, pouring water. That is all much too HARD and who wants to be around boiling water at a time like this? Just get a glass jar, stuff it full of plant parts (I chose assorted mints), fill with water, and stick it in the sun. Go lay down with a wet towel on your head for a few hours. Pour and enjoy. Or add some ice and drink it cold.
Gaze upon this lineup of vine-ripened tomatoes I photographed last fall in my pal Amy’s garden. Remember fresh, ripe, sweet, rich, juicy tomatoes? On toast. With fresh, homegrown basil. Don’t forget to get your tomato seedlings started so you can enjoy these babies come August!
And if you’re in Toronto next week I’ll be giving a hands-on workshop on starting seeds at Grassroots Environmental Products Store.
Get your hands dirty and learn the ins and outs of starting veggies, herbs, and flowers from seed in this hands-on, organic growing workshop. Thrifty hints and tips for beginners, apartment dwellers and small space gardeners. Participants will each take a seedling-to-be home with them.
When: Monday, April 23, 2007. 7:30 pm
Where: 372 Danforth Ave, Toronto (at Chester subway)
$10 ($5 students/seniors/unwaged)
Pre-registration and payment is necessary to reserve a space.
Space is limited to 20 people. Register at either Grassroots locations or call (416) 466-2841.
Living room gardeners needn’t be limited to corner-store variety orchids. Paphiopedilum, aka ‘slipper’ orchids (not to be confused with the cold hardy North American Lady’s Slipper) are an exotic tropical that produce a stunning, solo blossom sometime between late fall and spring. Each bloom lasts as long as 2-3 months and many varieties have dramatic, mottled foliage providing interest in between blooms.
Grow It: In the wild, Paphiopedilums (Paphs for short) grow underneath trees where they received indirect, filtered light, making them the perfect match for those of us cursed with small windowed apartments. Look for yellowing leaves as a sign of too much light. Repot your paph every two years with light and airy orchid bark. Give your plant a quick soak, pot and all, in room-temperature water. The bark mix should never dry out but should not be constantly soggy either. Choose a hardy hybrid variety like ‘Maudiae’, or ‘Gold Dollar’.
Check out The Orchid Mall to find a local vendor or The American Orchid Society for more information.
See more photos of my favourite paph: Paphiopedilum Maudiae ‘Claire de Lune’ x Minnie May – How’s that for a race horse name!