Roof Garden Gal an experiment five floors up.

Roof Garden Gal an experiment five floors up.

The Delinquent Gardener 2013 Wrap Up

Ive been a bad bloggerbut only because Ive been a bad gardener. Apologies.

I got very busy in August with work and all of a sudden its spring. Or, snow spring as we had.

Before I start up new posts later this week with water news, tank redesign and pot repositioning, some quick highlights from last year.

The S oft-Bellied Tomato Pecker

Alton was RIGHT!  He exists, and hes a nasty, aggressive jerk of a Jay bird. I finally caught him on one of my tomato plants in late July. I walked over to him and yelled at him, and he yelled right back at me. Short of covering the whole tank and plants with netting, I didnt know what to do. (Scarecrow? Maybe Ill do that this year.) I finally got him off the plant, and he flew onto the top of the elevator lobby on the other side of the roof, still yelling at me. I have no doubt that he came back after that, probably bringing some of his posse to squawk at me just in case. Ill share in the event that he returns this year.

Peppers, peppers, peppers

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I adopted several pepper plants from friends windowsills and patios. While I wont be doing that again, I did have quite a harvest of various types of peppers, including bell and several kinds of hot peppers. None of the bell peppers got really big, but they had nice flavor. I used a few of the jalapenos to make spicy simple syrups.

Roof Garden Gal an experiment five floors up.

One of my neighbors was excited to try the red chilies, so I told her to take as many as she and her husband would like. Later, I heard that the peppers made him sick. As it turns out, they had never cooked with hot peppers before, and in fact, didnt even realize that they were HOT! Yikes. Thats an eyeball scratch Id certainly like to avoid.

I was very happy with my first successful harvest of cucumbers last year. Ive talked about the significance of the cucumbers and my grandfathers never ending desire for pickles in the garden years ago, so this year I will once again plant cucumbers. They need more water than I had been giving them, but I have a new plan for that. Id like to actually pickle some of them this year as I did with the radishes last year. I need to pick them when theyre a bit smaller than they are in this photo, otherwise they get bitter and have huge seeds. But just in case, I also learned that Dolley is a fan of the bitter cucumber skins.

Growing carrots in the tank was so much better than in the small buckets the year prior. They were, for the most part, straight, but not very thick. All in all, however, Im not totally happy with the volume of the carrot harvest I had last year. I had tried to make seed tape, but I think that didnt work. Maybe it was using diluted school glue? Ive seen directions for DIY seed tape that suggest using flour and water as the adhesive, so maybe I shouldnt have used Elmers. Oh well. Im not going to use it at all this year. Im going to stick to the Kyoto Reds that Farmer Russell gave me last year (the two long carrots in the photo), as they seemed to do well, and the purple ones. They also did nicely and are very pretty.

I also need to thin the carrots MUCH MORE than I did last year. They were too squished for space, and many of them didnt get much larger than seedling size. When I started to clean out the tanks this year, I encountered many baby sized carrots that never grew. My trusty taste tester didnt have much feedback this time besides a hefty yank of the sample vegetable.

And finally, some lovely cherry tomatoes, unpecked by birds.

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