Archive for April, 2010

Friends are the best. Especially the ones that really love plants and gardening too. Last week two friends wrote to me with some thoughts/solutions to issues I discussed on the blog, and I think the insights are worth sharing.

Lets start with my ongoing berry issues:

Bayan, a budding urban gardener in Washington D.C. (and way more into research than I am) said he just planted a couple of berry bushes himself in front of his rented apartment. Here’s what he said:

“A few tips I have heard along the way about berries. They like a lot of sun. They like acidic soil, and generally they like to have more than one of their buddies around to pollinate with. It’s a lonely life for a berry bush.”

I admit I was pretty rash with the blackberry planting. I think it is in acidic soil because I put it in the same pot that the blueberry bush used to live in. But now I’m wishing I’d bought her some friends. I’ll have to see if I can find any at the farmer’s market.

As for the second tip, my friend Gwen has diagnosed my poor sugar snap pea issue as “powdery mildew.” She had a similar problem with some beans last year. Luckily she had a solution too: Break off the messed up leaves, and if necessary, even pull an entire plant. Mine were too far gone by the time I got her note, but maybe next year I won’t give up on them so fast.

Thanks guys!

PS: If I don’t find a fellow blackberry plant to help polinate my current one I think might rip her out and plant the grapevine I’ve been dreaming of for over a year. There’s a guy at the farmers’ market who is selling California grapes. TEMPTING!


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I am beginning to see a light at the end of my to-do-list-tunnel. Things around the home are becoming organized. There was time this week for a trip to the farmers’ market, a yoga class, and a drive with a friend and the baby to a flower grower an hour away.  (We didn’t get anything but the scenery was gorgeous). I’ve found the tomato seedlings I’d like to plant–there’s a guy at the farmers’ market who had some nice looking plants and helpful advice–but I calmly (and with a little encouragement from my husband) chose NOT to purchase them yet. We’re out of town next weekend, and while I feel anxious to get things planted, there’s no reason to rush. I’m determined that the farm should be fun, not stressful. We’ve got many months of growing ahead of us. A whole lifetime even.

However, I could not wait to make some structural changes. We’ve had this metro storage unit sitting outside for 15 months. It’s an amazing thing–each shelf can hold hundreds of pounds–but it was too industrial looking for our home. I was feeling guilty that I hadn’t got around to selling it until I realized it’s just what My Patio Farm needed. On Sunday I set it up, and hoisted some plants on it. Here’s what it looks like:

I like it a lot. Too much actually. I’m already pining for a second one. I definitely have the space. I’m unsure yet whether the tomatoes will go on the shelf, or below. For now I’ve hoisted an Earth Box planted with two tomato plants on the top level.

Feeling sad east coast? I planted these about a year ago, and check it out: They are starting to produce again! Unfortunately, these were my least favorite of the four tomato plants I bought last year. They will probably be replaced.

My rush to reorganize the farm was perhaps a little rash. I realized too late that I was not wearing appropriate shoes.

Luckily white patent leather is easy to wipe clean.

And here’s one compelling reason to keep the tomatoes up high. This little guy loves picking the baby green ones off.

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Much like my life, My Patio Farm has gotten a little out of control this past month. I’m incapable of being obsessive compulsive about anything– ultimately a good trait I think–but the poor farm could use a little more attention.

I let this happen to my mustard greens and lettuce.

As soon as I shot that photo I ripped it all out and threw it over the deck. Enough is enough. I can’t stand it anymore.

And my formerly gorgeous sugar snap peas have suddenly come down with a strange powdery disease. They are browning and spotting right before my eyes.

It’s not a good look, but these ladies haven’t given up yet. Despite the powder I was still able to pick enough sugar snap peas for a 5 o’clock snack.

I wish I could say there were still tons of pea pods on there to eat with dinner tonight, but I’m afraid I picked them clean.

Oh well, as my co-worker just said between crunches, (I shared), “It’s better than nothing!”

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