Monday, July 30, 2007

The Anticipation....

Oh, the anticipation of garden produce!

A cluster of cherry tomatoes are turning red, and our salad bowls are calling out for them! The yellow pear tomatoes tease me with their increasingly plump bottoms, but there's nary a blotch of yellow just yet. Two tomatoes have finally begun to grow on the better bush. Not much bigger than cherry tomatoes at this point, but their unusually wide middles and slight pumpkin shape hint at their fat destiny. I only wish that plant were doing as well as the others. I want baskets full of love-apples! I want to have some to eat like fruit, some to slice up for salads and sandwiches, some to pluck green and fry....

The cucumbers are more of a mystery. Four growing, one of which is about 4 inches long. I had to do research on the variety because it struck me that I had no clue when to pick them. Are they small pickling cucumbers? Obscenely huge slicing cucumbers? As it turns out, they are fairly standard and grow to about 8 inches.

It's just so hard to tell with things like cucumbers. Tomatoes are loud, garish, and proud. Their bold color tells you exactly when they are ready to be picked. Cucumbers, on the other hand, are shy and introverted. They extend no invitations from behind their broad, parasol-like foliage, no clear indication of how much larger it might grow. The gardener must play the guessing game.... Do I pick now and beat furry little poachers to prize, or will another day or two of patience win me the reward of another couple of inches?

If only cucumbers were as straight forward and open as tomatoes. But then, they wouldn't be cucumbers anymore.... No. I'd miss their quiet mystery and charm.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Winter Plans in July

Though it's time to focus on tending our summer vegetables, it's also time to think about fall and winter. You don't need a greenhouse for this, as long as you have a sunny room.

My own plans include two varieties of baby lettuce, a very small tomato plant (and probably a cutting from one of my current tomato plants), and Alexandria strawberry plants. We won't actually get to eat the strawberries over winter, but we'll have nice strong plants by next season. My hope is that this ever-bearing plant will start developing fruit early in the spring.

I went ahead and put the tomato and strawberry seeds in peat pellets I had lying around from two or three years ago. Probably not an organic option considering several internet sources refer to an added "minor fertilizer charge," but I think using them up instead of buying seed starter mix and trays is worth dealing with this "mild charge."

And tomorrow, I plant lettuce seeds! Squeeeee!

These will all be houseplants. Even the lettuce, which is going in plastic dish tubs (with holes drilled in the bottom) from the Dollar Tree. I'll probably leave them out in the sun until the nights start turning cold, but then they'll live in our south-facing laundry room.

Sowing the Seed

Hello, world! I'm your ever so dedicated urban garden hoe, Elizabeth. Welcome to my brand new gardening blog!

Who am I? Oh, such a deep question! We'll just dip our toes in the pool for now. I'm 27 years old and newly married. I live in Oklahoma City where I work in academia all week and play geeky games with my friends all weekend.... when I'm not cooing over my container garden. I'm over-educated, over-liberated, over-stressed, and slightly over-fed.

What sort of gardening do I do? Though I do have a decent amount of yard and a flower bed, containers are far more convenient for me at the moment. My primary interest is edibles. I have a vegetable garden on the patio and scattered pots of herbs in the house. I still enjoy flowers and such, but you'll run across less of that on this blog.

Why create a blog about urban gardening? Aside from the fact that I'm looking for people who won't get sick of hearing me obsess about my cherry tomatoes, urban gardening is a growing trend that I want to support! Taking even just a few minutes to tend your plants each day can provide a little relief from the stress of our latte-grande-fueled lives. It's also a way to bring us out of the pesticide-infested produce section of the local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. Take that $5 you were going to spend on a few bland chemically grown tomatoes and buy a container, seed packet, and bag of potting soil. Dedicate a little time to it and wallah! You'll be fully stocked with the best tomatoes you've ever eaten! Forget the 100 Mile Diet, we're reaping the benefits of the 100 foot diet! I want this blog to be a meeting place for fellow urban gardeners and inspiration for the curious, because this is a lifestyle more than worth sharing.