You can have a garden anywhere!

The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Vegetable Garden or Farm by Annie Novak

This book is ideal if you want to do some serious gardening and you are a city dweller. There is much info and advice on checking city codes, soils, containers and pest control. There are diagrams and easy to follow instructions to make a cold frame, wind screen, garden plans and more. I am in a rural area so I didn’t need this book for rooftop gardening but I needed to learn about pest control, garden planning and planting, maintaining healthy soil and the scoop on containers.

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There is an entire section on garden containers and the pros and cons for each sort. Metal is durable, plastic milk crates work if you line them, recycled materials such as old buckets or boots can be utilized and wood can be painted and constructed for you needs.
There is also an interesting bit about vertical gardening in containers. Let it grow upwards and save some room. Also of interest is how to raise chickens and rabbits on the rooftop. I would have never thought of that. The part about bee hives is very interesting….something I don’t think I have the temperament for…plus I am scared to be stung. You certainly need pollinators if you are growing flowering vegetables, fruits or trees.

Great book with lots of photos and illustrations. This isn’t necessarily for the beginning gardener but all is explained in ways you can absorb easily.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books program. All opinions and thoughts are mine, nice and otherwise  🙂

 

 

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June Garden Update

There is the good news and the bad news, as the story always goes.

Here is some of the bounty we have harvested……obviously this falls under the good news.

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Summer temperatures have moved in and many of our plants are not loving it. Fortunately the pole beans seem to be fine with the hot evenings and brutal, humid daytime temps.

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The tomatoes are a lost cause. We ought to have gotten them in much earlier than we did but we were trying to grow them from seed. Under the grow light they did not flourish as the squash, beans and peas did.

By the time we decided to pop the little seedlings into the ground it was too late in the season. We managed to get one enormous, juicy beefsteak tomato. Very tasty. The rest of the little green tomatoes most likely won’t ripen as the temperatures are not below 78 to 80 some nights. Oh well, live and learn.

The Little Finger eggplants are doing well.

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The squash were excellent producers for a good while and we had many side dishes of yellow squash and a casserole or two. They developed a fungus recently and we had to pull out the remaining plants.

Look at our poor bush bean plants! It looked like a cutworms or some heinous bug snipped the little branches off.

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Funny how the pole beans are doing so well but the bush beans are biting the dust. Every year we learn something new about gardening. Now we are aren’t sure what to plant for the fall or even when to plant for a fall harvest.

If you are a fellow amateur gardener I hope your plants are doing better than ours. Any advice is always welcome!

Garden Update: Before and After

Let’s start with the before photos. This shot of when the beans and peas were first growing up the netting.

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The squash was just starting to thrive…..

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The bush beans finally poked up through the soil….

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Inside we were still using the grow light to start chard, peppers and cherry tomatoes.
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This is a great before shot. Nothing was coming up yet, a blank palate in our raised beds.

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We used a good mixture of soils – Lucky Dog and Nature’s Care.

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After shots!

Here is a gorgeous eggplant blossom.

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Look at the tiny eggplants forming. These are called Little Finger eggplants.

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The squash are huge now. We have gotten many little yellow squash and had them for our dinners several times.

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We were getting lots of pole beans and have enjoyed them for dinner many evenings. They are starting to slow down production wise.

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Alas on the tomatoes. I was hoping we got them in on time but I think we waited too late. First off we tried using seeds and getting them to sprout under the grow light. Plants did emerge but they didn’t prosper as the squash, peas and beans did so….probably too late for any tomatoes this year.

Next year we will buy plants from a good local source and get them in earlier. Probably still try the seeds and grow light but I don’t want to take any chances. Even if everything works out, in my opinion you can’t have too many tomatoes. I roast them, chop into various dishes, make sauce…..you know.

That’s all I have to share garden-wise. If you put a garden in what are your success stories? Anything that does particularly well?

Gardening and Seedling Update

The grow light is working well. We planted on March 7th and started seeing little seedlings not too long afterwards. Now the plants are growing so fast, eager to get into soil and proper sunshine I suppose.

The thing we did not consider was how fast the beans would grow, and how tall they would get in comparison to the other vegetables. The light is meant to be 2 inches from the plants so that’s problematic when the beans have gotten so much taller than tomatoes, peas, chard and squash.

Doug’s brother is brilliant with gardening (he works at Worm’s Way in Tampa )s o he gives us tips here and there. The solution to the lighting and different growth of plants is to adjust the light by tilting it with the draw string.

It’s difficult to see in this photo but the grow light is at an angle to accommodate the varying height of the veggies.

We are using different soil combos this time and will note which one works best for future considerations. We’ve bought the below and also need to get the Happy Frog soil from the local gardening supply place very soon, start mixing the soils up. The raised beds are now 12 inches deep instead of the 6 inches we used last year.

This past weekend we moved the pole beans and peas outside to adjust to the light before planted them in a bed. We’ll also need to prepare a net for the beans to climb on once they start vining upwards.

I know it’s not good gardening weather for everyone yet but if you have started a garden, what are you planting? What are your plans for this year? Let’s hope I can report some success from our little corner of the globe.

Starting up the garden with seeds and a Jump Start Grow light

When I was growing up I remember my mother always had a garden in our small suburban yard. How I wish I had taken notes and asked questions way back then. My father had a hand with the planning as he was out measuring, turning soil and staking out the area between the two apple trees. I was allowed a small patch where I could plant anything I wanted….but what I didn’t do was take an active role in the everyday planting, pest control and maintenance. I could really use that info now.

Last year our garden was not successful but this year I hope to report great progress. We are trying something different this year. Last year we planted straight into raised beds.

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This year we are starting with seeds instead of plants and placing them under a grow light.

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Every morning we turn the light on and turn it off before to retire to bed. The soil is sprayed once a day to keep it moist. We also plotted out which beds we would place the tomatoes, squash, peas, beans, chard and bell pepper.

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This year we are increasing the depth of the beds to 12 inches. That should help quite a bit.

Here are the seed trays under our new light. This light helps the seedlings come up strong and not wispy. As soon as danger of frost is gone we will plant in a raised bed.

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More updates later – hopefully successful ones!

The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater

kitchendiaries Nigel Slater’s book The Kitchen Diaries is filled with good stories and wonderful recipes. It feels a cheat to say I am done with it because I return to it again and again.

Sometimes the diary entry is about the weather or what went on in the market while he purchased mushrooms or veggies. Inevitably it leads to a recipe which pairs with the story. I have prepared many meals from this book, some I follow to the letter and some I need to adapt.

One of my favorites has to be the zucchini fritters. They are filled with feta cheese and I have to say, they are addictively tasty.
Here is a photo. For the full recipe (and more enticing photos) click HERE.

It’s a pleasure to tuck into one of Nigel’s diary type books, I get lost I reading about daily life in England, his garden and what he plans to make for dinner.

Here is more info on Nigel Slater

His website
The Guardian
He’s on Twitter too

Adding my review to Goodreads, The British Book Challenge and Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.