Thursday, June 18, 2009

Urban Farming?

I've never actually grown anything other than flowers (and I'm still pretty new at that), but this year I decided to dive into veggies. I consulted a couple books over the winter (Square Foot Gardening, The Organic Home Gardener). I poured over online seed catalogs, loading and clearing my shopping cart. I was highly overwhelmed, but in the end, I grew a bunch of bush tomatoes, cucumbers, mesclun, radishes and herbs from seed, then bought some Bonnie tomato and pepper seedlings.

Here's my tomato patch:

I've already enjoyed some of the Basil, Cilantro, and Mesclun and I discovered I really don't like radish. I'm still a little undecided about how ugly the patch is (apparently the whole attractiveness of veggie gardens is quite a "hot" topic in the gardening world), but so far, I feel like the experiment has already been a success.

One thing that I've found to be really different about veggie gardening, opposed to flower gardening, is that it's a lot more heart wrenching/nerve wracking. When a flower dies or gets eaten by some critter, I have a momentary spell of remorse or anger, but if food doesn't grow, well, that's a whole nother matter!

My loss of some cucumber seedlings was just devestating (even though my husband pointed out, he really doesn't like them anyway). Some cold weather and my bush tomatoes started to turn a bit yellow -- tragic! There are aphids munching away on my vining tomatoes as we speak, and I've been researching a non pesticidal cure (there are several, but efficacy is dubious - I'm screwed).

So I will finish this post with a few pictures of my flowers, a much more upbeat topic, to be sure. The iris and peony have pooped out, but roses are chugging away, and the Shastas unfurled today!

And because the long shot is still a little scraggly looking, I thought I'd post some close-ups.

The rain-tipped Shasta Daisy:

A clematis (Hagley Hybrid), beginning its bloom:

Grandma D's rose (I think it's some kind of Hybrid Tea) beginning to bloom:

The author of the Organic Home Gardener (Patrick Lima) writes about how all veg gardens should include flowers, he included some quote or saying, something along the lines of "Vegetables are for the belly, but flowers are for the soul." I'm probably horribly butchering the original, but I think the sentiment is correct.


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