Archive | March, 2013

2012 Recap – It’s Tomato Time!

21 Mar

The pride of the garden….the tomato.

cherry tomato on rooftop

I mentioned in my “About” section that my grandfather, who grew up on a farm in southern New Jersey, insisted that we didn’t have enough tomato plants and would add them to my mother’s rock garden, our front landscaping, and other various flower beds around the house where tomatoes….just don’t go. He also tried to grow them on fire escapes on the commercial building the family owned in lower Manhattan. Even without his additions, we always had nice tomatoes from our garden.

In 2011, I had four tomato plants, as you may remember from earlier photos. I went with red and yellow cherries, red grapes, and some other larger purple-y fruit. The three smaller plants did much better, but it was still a lot to work with. In 2012, I decided to stick with the small fruits, so I had only one cherry plant and one yellow pear tomato plant. They were all quite sweet and delicious, unlike anything from a plastic container at the grocery store.

These photos are from early May to mid June, 2012.

Yeah, so I picked off those suckers when I saw them. Didn’t really have any problems with bugs on the plants.

These photos are from early July to mid July, 2012. More on those glass bottles in my next post.

I was able to pick dozens of tomatoes every week starting about this time. My brother also got me a pasta machine for my birthday last summer. BAM! This is early August, 2012. I hand made or grew this entire meal….except for the cheese. (No cows on the roof just yet.)


My tomatoes seemed happy on the roof. I’m pretty sure they’d appreciate some more root space, but all in all, I think this was a successful venture. They were still producing fruit into October, and then a few pathetic little ones after that every now and then. These photos are from mid to late September, 2012.

2012 Recap…In search of beta carotene

12 Mar

I don’t know where to start here. Maybe at the Carrot Museum? Though it exists online, the International Carrot Conference is real….and it’s in Madison, Wisconsin this August. Fascinating.

I don’t know how I’d get along with the pros, though. So here’s a gallery of my early rooftop carrots from mid May to early July, 2012.

Everything is moving along nicely, right? The swiss chard next to the carrots wound up not working out. The leaves were very, very bitter and didn’t like to be picked, or not to be picked. Quite possibly because they shouldn’t have been grown in a small container like that, but I was still curious.

These photos are mid July to early September, 2012.

In general, they were all pretty attractive carrots. Not the sweetest, but they were all crunchy, and I was proud. At that point, a few of them started to get really weird. These photos are mid to late September, 2012.

I wanted to see how long they would last in the box, kind of see if they’d rot in the ground or if they’d be ok through the winter. These photos are from mid January, 2013.

I visited a friend’s farm this past weekend in Mineral, Virginia. More on that in tomorrow’s garden update. Was given an assortment of carrot seeds that I will use this year.


Here are some REAL carrots. We pulled up a few of them from the rows.


And of course, the obligatory Image 2altered photo using unnamed mobile device software.




2012 Recap…Herbal Issues

7 Mar

I thought herbs would be the least of my problems up on the roof. I was half right. So, earlier this week I wrote about the survivors, the herbs that wintered nicely and seemed to be alive in the spring.

One small snafu…I was away for about a week and the herbs didn’t get much water. I lost my thyme, so I replanted that one. photo 2Also, the rosemary got very dry and looked like it was about to totally kick the bucket. The main branches were nice and thick, so I thought it would come back to life eventually.

Here it is on May 9. —–>

IMG_4022And here it is a few weeks later on May 22. It did, in fact, grow back, and the hard, woody stems had some softer, white additions as well. I was happy with the regenerated rosemary. I knew it would be ok eventually, as the plant my mom has in New York now is probably ten years old, at least. Plus, in many parts of the Mediterranean I’ve seen them planted as shrubs.


Parsley also came back during the second year, however, we had some issues. Instead of lovely, soft parsley leaves, I was getting really thick, straw-like stalks, and it was flowering constantly. My rabbit enjoyed the stalks, but it wasn’t what I was going for. Eventually I got fed up and just pulled it all. They roots went all over the garden box, which I expected. I have since been told that the plant was likely stressed. Why? It didn’t have mortgage payments to keep up with or anything. Argh. Photos from mid May to late September, 2012.

I was given a similar opinion regarding the basil; it was stressed. I started them this season again from seed. The early plants looked lovely, with round, plump leaves. I thinned the plants as I always had as the weeks went on, but looking back on it they were probably too squished in there. Also a chance I didn’t pick enough of it. These photos are from mid May to late July, 2012.

Also, quickly, mint. Mint will never die. Ever.


I got a second mint plant this year, so now I have common mint (kinda fuzzy leaves) and the newer chocolate mint, with more leafy leaves. The plants have both flowered several times and have faked death, too. They keep coming back, leggier and leggier each time. Again, check the earlier post for the first wintering comeback. These photos are mid May to late July, 2012.

2012 Recap – The Radish Diary

5 Mar

I decided to break up the 2012 updates by vegetable. Today, I will gloat about my red globe radish success. Spicy radish success. The seed packet said they are 28 days until harvest, and by golly, I think I picked the first one at 28 days. I was able to get two rounds of beautiful, crispy, super spicy beauties out of the 1’x1′ space they were allotted in 2012. Some nutritional info about these babies.

These photos are from mid April to mid May, 2012

I think I left the square empty for about a week or before replanting. Ate most of them raw with a bit of salt. Some on crusty bread with some butter. Some pickling addition in there, you’ll see in the second gallery. In addition to the radishes themselves, we also enjoyed the leaves chopped up in salad for a little punch with every forkful.

Radishes were successful. I was pleased. I will do them again in 2013. Don’t need a lot of space, grow quickly, pack a tasty bite.

These photos are from mid May to early June, 2012.

2012 Recap…The Survivors

4 Mar

Welcome to 2012! I thought about the garden all through the 2011-2012 winter. We didn’t get much snow, didn’t get TOO many cold days. I considered covering the garden with some hay (that my rabbit decided not to eat) or some of that gardening fabric, but I decided against it.

So, here we are in March, 2012. I was beginning to plan out what I’d grow in the summer, thinking about what worked and what didn’t in 2011. Here are the survivors…the herbs that lasted over the winter. Some were in their own pots, some were in the SFG box. See Winston there watering everything?

These photos are from March 19-25, 2012.

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