Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Urban Gardening

Sometimes, I really miss the farm. It’s quiet and it’s secluded, so you can be as loud as you want and no one cards. But for the same reasons, I love the city. I love the hustle and bustle, the fact that no matter what time of night it is, there is always someone awake, doing something. There is always something to do, something to see.

But there is one factor that I miss about the farm more than any other, and that’s the fresh vegetables. Sure, I am still able to grab some vegetables from the garden when I go home to visit, but I find that it is not the same. They are just as good, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t as frequent. I have a rush of vegetables at one time that I have to use up lest they go bad, and then I have none again.\

So last year, for the first time, I tried growing a garden in the city. Garden is a very loose term in this context. See, I live in an apartment. Worse, I live in a basement apartment. There isn’t enough light that comes in the windows to keep anything alive, and I do not have my own space outside like those with decks do. (But yes, I am seeing the difference in the cost of my rent). But still, where to garden?

Transferring the plants into pots

At some point last spring I was garage saleing, and came upon a ton of pots that they were selling for dirt cheap. (I’m talking like $0.25 each). Inspiration struck. I bought up about 8 of them, and ditched my garage saleing efforts to go on my merry way over to a greenhouse.

Last year, my garden was an utter failure. Most of my plants died of “heatstroke” (dried up because I’m not home during the afternoon), and the others just got really stringy and didn’t do anything. One of the reasons why I think this is, is that I didn’t give them enough of a chance. I started my garden last year in late June, and didn’t actually pot the plants for a few days after I got home. Another reason is that I wanted to see the plants grow a lot myself, so I bought the smaller plants rather than the more mature ones.

This year I have a different strategy. While I couldn’t help but not plant them until Friday (the 11th), I bought the biggest plants that I could find.

Oh yeah. You might be wondering where I am putting all these potted plants, if I can’t grow anything indoors?

The parking lot of course.

My Beautiful Garden, freshly watered

View for scale

It’s not as bad as it looks. The window behind the plants is my own kitchen window, and the car that parks right beside them is my boyfriend’s, so I know he isn’t going to run them over. A lot of people have asked me why I’m not more scared of people “vandalizing” my plants – dumping them and throwing them and what not.

Reason 1: Last year, I kind of was. But I reasoned with myself that the pots only cost $0.25 each, so if it all gets wrecked it’s not like I’m in a financial hole.

Reason 2: I actually left my pots out all winter because I didn’t have anywhere in the apartment to put them.
Reason 3: As sketchy as the neighbourhood has become, my neighbours that are in my building themselves, are amazing. One of my neighbours actually watered my plants for me, unasked, when she realized that I was gone for the weekend.

Reason 4: The area is lit up really well, and there is a lot of traffic in the area due to a mini-golf course and a (baseball-machine thing that shoots balls at you?) across the back alley, and one of the most popular gas stations/car washes on the next block over.

This year, I decided to plant: tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflour, daisies :) , green bell peppers, hot red peppers, and tiger lilies :) .

I have another item that I will be planting soon, but that is a surprise for another post.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it could work?


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