The Grow Op – an urban gardening experiment

All is Not Lost. Some is Lost, But Not All
August 10, 2009, 10:55 am
Filed under: Flowers, Herbs, Plants, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , ,

My Friends, please take a moment to bow your heads and acknowledge the losses of these past few weeks: Brave Sunflower, Valiant Dill Weed, Innocent Dark Opal Basil – we hardly new ye. Also among the casualties are the severely injured Chamomile, and the Peppers have some kind of infection from some unsavory mulch.

Finally, I think the tomato twins might be retarded.

But in brighter news, a lot of plants bounced back. I am making some tea with catnip and lime mint. I harvested a nice sized cucumber, and there are some beautiful eggplants coming in! And I saved one Dark Opal sprout, which is coming back beautifully.

Pictures of the harvest to follow.


Aphids and the Approaching Armageddon
July 30, 2009, 10:00 am
Filed under: Flowers, Herbs, Plants, Vegetables | Tags: , , ,

So I did not expect anything approaching a pest problem in my lovely little sunroom – boy was I wrong. I have had a massive aphid infestation, which i noticed right before i left town for ten days. I knocked them off where I saw them and hoped for the best. Apparently that is not a comprehensive pest control strategy. Having returned last night, it was an Aphid orgy on my red and hot pepper plants. Oh, how I wept and raged and shook my fist at the gods…But that didnt work, so I tried a solution from my good friend Janet – literally: I used a weak soap solution and sprayed the shit out of those little bastards this morning. I will keep you all updated on the results, but Janet’s reports were of unmitigated success.

In brighter news, I have a huge cucumber! No, not (just) in my pants, but also in my garden. I was having major problems with my cucumbers being shriveled and pathetic – also not just in my pants. It turns out that they need a serious water supply, and I wasnt being diligent enough about keeping my SIP full of water. Moral of the story: Cucumbers are mostly water.

But all these issues pale in comparison to the nuclear A-bomb that our supposed ally THE SUN dropped on my garden over the last few days. The heat has totally decimated my poor garden! I basically spent the morning doing triage, as most of the flowers (Catnip, Chamomile, and Sunflower) were badly burned, and looking awfully sad. Also my herbs took a beating. I don’t think a couple of them are going to recover.

Light a candle for my garden, friends…

A Progress Report
June 15, 2009, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Herbs, Information, Plants, Vegetables

I figure by now you are all wondering how the garden is doing! it has been two months since i decided to try this experiment, and probably about 6 weeks since i started growing. So here is a quick picture of what the garden looks like today:

Garden June

Amazing right? I am so excited that everything is growing so far, and really enjoying tending to these plants and seeing how they progress every day. I will try and update you individually as real momentous growth and/or flowering starts to occur. Like those cucumbers on the far right!! holy jumpin’!! More on those to follow soon.

Oops! I almost forgot the stars of the video:

Tomatoes June

May 15, 2009, 10:37 am
Filed under: Herbs, Plants | Tags: , , ,

Ok so I will admit it: Some nights, when the weight of the world is too much to bear, I have some trouble sleeping. And when those dark, dark nights come around, and all my problems are a closin’ in, I like to have a little herbal tea to try and get to sleep. But the good stuff usually doesn’t come cheap. So naturally i am going to grow it myself. ‘They’ – and by they I mean SKYNET aka the Internet – tell me chamomile is easy to grow, and can be pretty continuously harvested by popping off the head of the flowers and drying them. This supposedly actually triggers more growth in the plant, and can also allow you to indulge a little childhood rhyming (“Momma had a baby and her HEAD POPPED OFF”)! I have also planted some catnip (yeah, its nice in tea!) but it isnt sprouting,and I begin to lose hope.

Chamomile is a bit of a slow starter. I planted these seeds what seems like a long time ago, and have these sprouts to show for it:

Chamomile Sprouts


April 30, 2009, 3:43 pm
Filed under: Herbs

So I came back from an overnight trip in Whistler (WSSF is going on – I saw Metric) for freeeee).

And what do i find?


The basil is growing! They tell me this is among the easiest plants to grow from seed, but I am still pretty proud of myself.

Curry Plant
April 25, 2009, 12:39 am
Filed under: Herbs, Information | Tags: , ,

I did a little research on my curry plant (aka helichrysum italicum). Here is a pretty comprehensive writeup.

When I bought it I was already aware that curry powder wasn’t from an individual plant, but thought this might be an ingredient. It smells EXACTLY like curry. At some later date perhaps I will experiment with creating an essential oil. Thats what this adventure is all about!

April 23, 2009, 12:38 am
Filed under: Herbs, Prep | Tags: , , , ,

Despite my categorical failure to get my sun room cleared out this past weekend, I did make an effort to get something into the ground: Herbs.

My teeny herb garden

As you can see it is in a container, and indoors. I will pass along a warning that I received from my friendly neighbourhood garden store clerk: Herbs don’t tend to do well indoors, with a few exceptions; basil, cilantro and chives. If you know of some others, feel free to discuss in the comments. Apparently this has to due with the relative humidity in the average household – the plants tend to dry out. I have decided to take the risk. I have (from left to right) curry (this might not be edible sadly, but it smells great!), winter savory, oregano, rosemary, and parsley (the space will be for basil, discussed below). I am hoping that consistent fresh air from the window and the occasional spritz of water on the foliage will keep them healthy. If not, i may have to stash them somewhere in my courtyard, guerrilla gardener style! Having herbs in a container should be fine, as long as their is ample drainage.

Dark Opal Basil
The garden store did not have a basil plant started, so i decided to start some from seed. I found a very interesting type of basil called Dark Opal. Basil is very easy to grow from seed (apparently). I have put about 1/2 dozen seeds in a small plant pot about 6mm into the soil. I soaked the soil with water, and now wait for the botanical magic to start! I will post pics once I get some sprouts.

More on curry later.