Category Archives: Gardening

Winning at tomatoes

So, it’s Memorial Day weekend. While thinking of solemn things, we Americans of the Midwest traditionally plant our tomato plants. In non-urban areas, it’s not safe from frost until now (in an urban heat island, Mother’s Day is plenty late). However, I don’t have to do this. We only have one tomato plant, and as of today I can report that it has one green tomato and many flowers!

There are two reasons for that. One, we planted it in our own version of an Earthtainer. Two, we planted it weeks ago, hoping that the combination of a planter and urban heat island would keep it safe from cold temperatures. That seems to have worked, and it’s doing really well. Most of the other plants are also doing well, though I believe the nasturtiums have too much nitrogen in the soil since they are all leaves and no flowers.

In two weeks we start getting vegetables from our CSA, and then hopefully can transition to doing most of our eating locally and/or sustainably for the summer. We’ll see how it goes.

Plan for the garden

Last year about this time, I was in the midst of finishing school, trying to find a job, and planning a wedding (all after having lost a lot of time and energy with a ridiculous flu/bronchitis/pneumonia whatever thing). This year, I am thrilled to be able to plan a garden and go about in an orderly way, rather than only getting what fell in my way through herb sales and several quick trips to Home Depot.

We joined a Community Supported Agriculture program this year, so most of our vegetables will be coming from Tempel Farms. My understanding of CSAs is that they are great, but that you have to be prepared for massive quantities of root vegetables. They are building a new farm this year, so I’m curious to see how that goes, and I’m also hoping to make a trip up to the farm sometime to take a tour and do some work.

In addition to the veggies we are getting from the CSA, Mike and I are also hoping to grow a variety of plants here, with sun/heat loving plants on the south facing back porch, and shade/cool loving plants on the north facing and well covered front porch. The most ambitious project we have planned is building an EarthTainer, which is a self contained planter and watering system that you build out of a Rubbermaid storage container. Lifehacker linked to it the other day and apparently that temporarily shut the site down, but it looks like it’s back up. There are 19 pages of instructions, but I get the feeling that once you build one, the rest are much easier.

Given the (mostly melted) snow and cold temps for this week, the only thing I’ll even try is to plant my mesclun mix seeds. I don’t have space for much else inside, and those should be fine even though it won’t likely be above 50 this week. It’s true what they say about April.