The Grow Op – an urban gardening experiment


Flower Power
June 27, 2009, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Flowers, Plants, Vegetables | Tags: , ,

Lately my garden has been looking like the Garden of Eden – at least if the Garden of Eden was in a small 2-bedroom apartment. Many of my vegetable plants are flowering like crazy, so i thought i would share some of them with you.

EggplantFlower

This is my eggplant (eggplant plant?). By far the prettiest flower to me, but i think i am more excited about this plant than any of my other ones, so i might be biased.

RedPepperFlower

here is the Red Pepper plant. It has gotten “big early” just like it’s name implies. It has actually been flowering the longest, but not a lot of delicious pepper action just yet.

CukeFlower

My cucumbers take the cake for most numerous flowers. It has dozens of them. I am starting to understand the behaviour of this plant a lot better. First of all it crawls around like crazy. It is everywhere now, as demonstrated in a previous post. And it has these huge shady leaves. I think this is to protect the fruit as it begins to develop, because what i am seeing now is a lot of cucumbers starting to grow, and then turning brown and withering. It naturally stays on the ground as well, so you could imagine big healthy cucumbers languishing beneath huge shady leaves like Roman nobles. So my scaffolding may be thwarting this to a certain extent. A few of them that are getting ample shade are starting to get big! More on this in a subsequent post.

Flowerless Flowers

These are flower plants that are not flowering: the tall one is a sunflower, and the leafy stringy one is chamomile. I am waiting anxiously for the chamomile to flower so i can make my own delicious tea, and mix it with the catnip (the third plant) which doesn’t actually flower i don’t think but is in the pic anyway. The sunflower has been growing strong, but may need more sunlight to get a really nice bloom. hopefully later in the summer it will get more direct sun.



“Everbearing” Strawberries
May 24, 2009, 1:20 pm
Filed under: Dirt and Soil, Fruit, Information, Plants | Tags: , , , ,

strawberries

I bought this little seedling on a whim when i was walking down Commercial Drive. It was being sold along with some other seedlings in a bodega style fruit and vegetable stand. It already had a few little flowers, and looked pretty healthy.

There is a lot of information out there about strawberries, and it looks like without knowing it I chose a pretty good strain for a small indoor operation. There are 3 basic types of Strawberries: “Spring-” or “June-Bearing”, Ever-Bearing, and Day Neutral. The biggest crops seem to come from Spring-bearing, but there is only one crop per year, they tend to spread more using ‘runners.’ Ever-Bearing concentrate their energy on 2-3 harvests rather than spreading runners and daughter plants. There is a 4th type I saw mentioned, “Alpine,” but I didn’t really dig for info on that one or the Day Neutral.

I think if you are growing in a backyard plot, or commercially you probably want to go with Spring-bearing because they will propagate for you, can produce a big plot for the cost of a handful of plants.

Again, I am not sure how the strawberries will flourish in the SIP, but they definitely seem like a better fit than the Cukes. They tend to like a constant water supply. In fact i read that most large commercial operations tend to irrigate their fields – so I have that going for me.



“Big Early” Red Peppers
May 16, 2009, 12:21 pm
Filed under: Plants, Vegetables | Tags: ,

I decided to plant this the other day, basically because the seedling looked so good at the garden store! look at that thing!! The waxy coating on the leaves, and look how friggin green it is! I couldn’t say no. Plus, the name of the strain was hard to deny. It sound pretty hard to mess up. all i did with this plant was stick it in a pot.

Red Pepper Seedling



Roll Call
May 13, 2009, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Information, Plants, Prep | Tags: , , , , ,

OK so it has been awhile since i actually talked about real plants that are living (for now) in my apartment. Since they are a pretty big part of a garden, I will give you a comprehensive update on what is now growing, my process for adding them to the garden, and my expectations. I will post these over the next couple days, in the interest of dragging it out like a daytime drama.

See? You are already addicted! Lets start with a review:

Herbs (Rosemary, Savory, Parsley, Oregano): These guys are doing ok on my living room window sill, and will soon migrate to the sun room. I added an Italian Basil plant, which is doing tremendously well, as Basil apparently is known for. It still makes me feel successful, though. The only plant that seems to be struggling a little is the Rosemary – it tends to dry out, As I was warned it might. I hope that the move to the much more humid sun room will fix this.

Dark Opal Basil: I originally was going to plant this with the other herbs, but changed my mind for several reasons. First, I wanted to grow a more traditional strain of basil. Second, the Dark Opal is a beautiful plant, and will look beautiful fully developed in its own pot – and it could probably live anywhere in the house, including the kitchen. I also had so many healthy sprouts that I had to split a bunch out of the seedling container I had. I now have about 6 Dark Opal plants, which I plan to give away as a cheap gift idea to my more culinary or botanical friends*.

“The Big Bite” Tomatoes: I inverted two tomato plants in buckets last week (there is a protracted demo in my David Suzuki Video). They are doing ok for now – I think they are still adjusting to their new alternative lifestyle. They are growing in some weird directions right now, but they seem to be growing – and that is whats important!

Stay tuned for the new additions…

*If you receive a basil plant from me as a gift, they are not cheap at all and exact a steep emotional cost to give away, as they are like my little baby children