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.


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

Inverted Tomatoes
May 6, 2009, 1:45 am
Filed under: Plants | Tags: , ,

Consider my dearth of space in the sunroom – and because I love experiments – I decided that i would try a tomato growing tactic that i had heard about a few times – Inverted tomato plants.

The principle is pretty simple: Grow the plant upside down! The execution is a little more complicated, but not much. First, you need some buckets. you can buy them, or go to the nearest restaurant and ask if they have extras. They usually do – just make sure you get one with a volume of at least 5 gallons. next, get some small tomato plants. scout out a good place to hang your plants, too.

Take your buckets, and cut holes in the bottoms about 2 inches in diameter. line the inside bottom of the pail with newspaper (about six sheets) and cut a hole in it that aligns with the hole in the bucket. Now, feed the tomato plant slowly and gently through the hole, and then fill the pail with as much soil as you prefer. I filled my 10 gallon pails about halfway. this can be tricky, so ask for help!

now just hang up your buckets, and water from the top! If you want you can put a lid on the bucket (with a second hole in it) and water through the hole. this will keep more moisture in the soil, and protect it from the sun (if it is outside).

One thing to be aware of, is that the load will grow heavier as the plans grow and flower. So be mindful of that when you choose a hanging site. I personally am very concerned that my ceiling hooks will not support my plants!

So there you go! inverted tomatoes. Still not a believer? Stay tuned and I will demonstrate my results.

Inverted Tomato plant