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The Garden Spot, Week 11

Nobody likes a wilted basil!

An appropriate title for this week’s column might be, “Sad, Droopy Things”. I mean, wasn’t that what we all were this past week?

The H was O, as they say, and we were all wondering how this could possibly be just the beginning of summer (or, technically, still the end of spring).

Pathetic.

My plants were no exception, and as I checked on them this morning, I noticed that many of them had shriveled a little under the stress of the humidity. My most promising squash seems to have deflated, turning in on itself in an almost painful display of undernourishment.

Don’t worry little guy, I got you! This week is all about making sure the basic needs of my baby seeds get met.

How are your plants taking the heat? Tweet me @everydaycaitlin

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The Garden Spot, Week 8

Can I just brag about something for a minute? 8 Weeks ago I started this humble column with the intention of using it to help me stick to my gardening and spread information related to the neighborhood. I wanted to feel inspired every week to plan, maintain, learn, and ultimately be a better grower and producer. This week I took a step back and looked at what I had accomplished thus far.

My lettuces are not big enough to eat yet, but they are lush and healthy. My basil emits the most intense, wonderful smell at the touch. Sunflowers and radishes are shooting out of the dirt over night. But there is one plant I am particularly excited about.

My summer squashes are as sturdy as trees. They have these big, vibrant leaves and every time I look at them I am filled with a great sense of pride. They were once tiny seeds, and now they are big, beautiful plants. Way to go, little guys!

I guess this is the rewarding feeling everyone talks about. While I haven’t gotten to taste the fruits of my labor, I get to witness it every day and know I am doing something right. It’s totally awesome.

So, how is your garden coming along? I want to see pics! Tweet me @everydaycaitlin

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The Garden Spot, Week 2

I don’t want to be too hyperbolic, but given my devotion to this project, my seedlings are sort of like my babies. That’s why, when I took a four-day trip to Florida last week, I was a little nervous to leave them alone. Though I had a trust-worthy friend coming by to water them (and take care of the cat), I was still fretting what I might see upon my return.

A few examples of my fears:

  • Mold all over the seed starter kit.
  • A hungry Henry Littleboots ravaged the baby plants, leaving nothing but bits of roots and paw-prints on everything.
  • Nothing. No growth. No change.

As you can see from this picture, I was pleasantly relieved. Spring had sprung in my little plastic container! The main crops you see on the right are lettuces – spinach and kale, as well as some mixed salad greens. We also have sunflowers jutting up, chives, and a little basil for good measure.

I spent the next morning transferring the larger seedlings into their adult pots and placing them in the greenhouse. It’s going to get up to 80 degrees this week, so I think it is certainly time for them to be placed outside.

When I transferred them I used organic potting soil (purchased from A World Of Flowers), and I mixed in some coffee grinds and orange peels. I know this isn’t proper compost, but I have read that both of these things are good for plants. So far, the mixture is helping my radishes grow into pork taco garnish at the speed of, well, light.

As you can see, my greenhouse is filling up quickly. I don’t want to extend the garden over the entire balcony, as I need somewhere to sit and yell at teenagers this summer. However, I am interested in some kind of tree or vine – lemons or tomatoes. Has anyone had particular success growing either of these outdoors in Greenpoint?

I also decided that I would accept the challenge of planting asparagus. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and something I look forward to all year. Like tomatoes, it is truly better in season. The unfortunate thing about asparagus is that it is not easy to grow, and you can’t cut the stalks the first year. This means that though we may have a green village to look at, we will have to wait until next summer to harvest them and wrap them in prosciutto and smother them in butter. Also, the roots look like alien tentacles.

While it’s all been good news so far, we do have a little problem. Henry cannot seem to leave my indoor palm tree alone. We wake up to this sad sight almost every morning. Does anyone have any tips for keeping cats out of houseplants?

(For some reason I thought putting wine corks over the soil would deter him. Silly me.)

Has anyone else started their small garden yet? Let me know how it’s going @everydaycaitlin !

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