Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gardening Adventures

Right here, there should be a picture of my Community Garden plot. I brought my camera there today, but I forgot to take a picture of my plot.
Imagine a photograph that's mostly black dirt, with a few indecipherable green leaves dotted around. I think some of my wildflower mix is starting to come up, and I'm fairly certain my peas are starting. My brassica/root vegetable area has a bunch of activity...but that could be weeds. I may have pulled up a broccoli seedling by accident today. In case it isn't clear, I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Hopefully the Community Gardeners do not read my blog.

I've become something like a devotee of Gayla Trail's writing and gardening instructions. If there are two gardening opinions, I find myself leaning towards hers. I think this is because when I first found myself in a garden job and thought, "Crap! I'm a good research/botanist, but a crummy gardener!" hers was one of the first things I read that was useful and approachable. Her website held my hand without being condescending. It said, here's how to do the basics, but you can try to grow this really difficult plant if you want, too.
This is how I've ended up with my Masdevallia 'Angel Tang' (a good starter orchid), a true curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii not the Helichrysum that smells like curry powder), some random microgreens in a plastic Driscoll's strawberry container, and now, a clementine container full of toilet paper rolls, to-go coffee cups, and yogurt containers. I found coconut coir for sale at Springfest and bought that, because Gayla Trail says it is better than peat. I have two bags of peat and vermiculite on my "deck" (a roof overhanging the driveway, to which I have access by climbing out a window...there's no railing and I'm sure that the landlords would have a heart attack if they saw me parading around out there in heels...after dark) and I've been mixing up the coir, perlite, and vermiculite. The problem is that the coir is in a really dense block. You're supposed to put it in water and it will expand to a billion times its size. I'm not really sure if I'm doing that right.
So, today I started some okra seeds. "Started." I set them to soak on Saturday night. They were supposed to soak for 24 hours. For various reasons, I had no choice but to let them soak for three times that. So, they might be useless by now--I have no idea. But I planted them. Half of them. Because I ran out of toilet paper rolls. And it was dark out. I got tired of gardening, in heels, on a roof with no railing, by the light of a reading light I dragged out of the window as far as I could get the cord to stretch. Oh, and I need to soak more coir. The last okra seed was planted in mostly vermiculite and perlite.

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