I have this idea that I should focus on a single passion and write only about that, but anyone who has known me for more than five minutes will know that will never work for me. Still, I do have a number of topics that I do intend to post about: urban gardening, education, career changing, cooking, dining and restaurants, working out, news, organic farming, quilt making. Maybe a little bit about technology - at least a posting about why I love my new iPad, anyway.
* * *My house in Toronto is a narrow three-story Victorian in an established area downtown. It has quite a large deck off the third floor (about 11x17') that has great sun exposure and, as far as I can tell, no bugs. So, I decided to experiment with what I might be able to grow in containers. I decided to start small - 14 containers (plus three additional tomato plants) and about 25 bags of dirt.
Since I have no idea what will grow up there, I decided to plant a little bit of everything. I thought this year I could see what did well and next year, I could be more focussed.
So I have fava beans (my favourite!), two types of eggplant, peas, various herbs, five kinds of tomatoes, parsnips, onions,corn, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, beets, potatoes, three kinds of cucumber, and kohlrabi.
In the picture, three vats haven't sprouted yet. I decided I could fit a few more vats and added the carrots, beets and potatoes earlier this week. It's late planting for them, but if things go so late they are endangered by frost, I can just pull them inside and put them under the skylight.
I'm also experimenting with the tomatoes. I read an article about terrace gardening that suggested tomatoes could be planted "over the edge" - so that they grow down on the outside of the terrace. In the article, the writer said she grew her tomatoes from the the top of her roof, and they just ran down the slope. My rooftop would be reasonably assessable by ladder from the third floor deck, but I don't think I'm quite that obsessed yet! It's too high and too sloped for me to ever feel safe up there! However, I am looking out the back window and the roof of the garage actually looks kind of promising. It gets good sun and it is gently sloped. And it isn't too high. Maybe next year! Seriously. But I think I'll wait to break this plan to Jeff until after the deck garden is a huge success!
I ran out of containers, so I just planted the tomatoes directly in the bags of dirt. Then I taped the holes up so the plants wouldn't fall out. It isn't very elegant, but the plants seem to thriving anyway. There is a small corner shelf where I set the bags. If all goes well, I'll put a shelf in along the whole length of the deck next year. There would likely be room for 15-20 tomato plants. More than enough to can a bunch of tomatoes and tomato sauce, which is my goal.
So far, though, the tomato plants in the vats on the deck are the big winners. The Roma tomato is leading - it already has 14 tiny green tomatoes starting on it. No other tomato plant has more than 3 or four.