Thursday, April 9, 2009

Patio Garden

It's almost time to start planting. This weekend I'll start turning my dilapidated deck space into my garden. This year will be a little different since we moved during the winter and our new apartment is completely westward-facing. (Read here: only afternoon/evening sun... almost entirely useless for growing vegetables). I have not yet begun researching plants that will be more accommodating to part-sun and shade since I really just wanted to plant cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, beans; all of which are sun-lovers. I have half a mind to plant them in my studio on top of my architect's desk, which would ensure that no pests reach my plants but would also inhibit pollination of the fruit later which would likely pose a problem, at least for my tomatoes.

My rosemary, chives and oregano are already back from last year and are excited about this new season. Our new apartment is on the base floor and is completely sheltered from the rain which also poses an issue for growing. Rosemary is from the arid mountainous terrain of Italy and does well in dry soil but chives and oregano do not. I've started running outside when it rains and pushing my little window boxes into the rainfall so they may get some of the free nutrients but my dipledenia and hibiscus from last year aren't even budging.

This year, Joshua and I have talked about planting lettuce and scallions, both of which would go really well in the large pots that are currently hosting my dead (am I already pronouncing that?) dipledenia and hibiscus plants. My mom may be journeying this way next week and perhaps dirt digging will be a quality mother-daughter activity. Last year my mother planted my garden alone. I was nine-months' expecting and we were biding our time until Aoife came, so I kept her company while she planted all my flowers and herbs.

I won't lie: I cannot successfully grow anything from seed. I buy seedlings and small plants because my green thumb was amputated at a young age: I believe in kindergarten I grew marigolds and that may have been my last successful venture.

I am undecided from where I will purchase my plants this year. Traditionally, I buy them from the McDonald Garden Center, but this year I was thinking about purchasing from something a little more "grassroots". Our local community college has a horticulture club that is sponsoring a plant sale, including a nice list of herbs and vegetables, all of which seem to be well researched for hardiness and resistance to disease. The other location is my local farmer's market: Five Points Community Farm Market which is sponsoring the sale of starter plants. Last weekend while in Washington D.C I went to one of my favorite farmer's markets: The Eastern Market at Capitol Hill. The purple Thai basil and lamb's ear sage they were offering made me wish I lived closer!

I'll post before and after pictures of my deck so you can see how I'm transforming the space into something edible, enjoyable and sustainable. In the meanwhile, I'll start resarching a type of tomato that grows in the dark in dry soil...

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