Daily Archives: May 20, 2012

Victoria Day/Local Beltain and Some Thoughts on Container Gardening

Summer has well and truely arrived.
Victoria Day Weekend typically corresponds to the beginning of Summer in Ottawa, and this year has been no exception. The temperatures have soared over the past week, and this weekend has so far included both (a) a barbicue, and (b) lots of sex. Also, I’m sitting on my balcony in nothing but a sarrong, typing away on my laptop, surrounded by The Garden. Summer is definitely here. 😀

Which brings me to: The Garden.
The (probably) last of which we put in in yesterday:

At one end of the balcony, we have my tomato plant (now joined by a Cinnamon Basil plant and a few scarlet runner beans (seeds) wich – hopefully – will germinate and get growing without incident in the next ten days or so. There is also a pot of Chocolate Mint and two window boxes – one contains “maiden pink” dianthus (the plan being to (a) have pretty, pink flowers, and (b) be able to make a clove-and-nutmeg flavoured iced tea out of the flower petals) plus kentucky wonder beans (seeds), and the other contains dill (plant) and nasturtiums (seeds).

At the other end of the balcony, we have a third window box this one contains a lavender plant and a lot of morning glories (seeds); plus two rubbermade bins and a smaller container. The smaller container has been seeded with garlic chives, while the two bins contain – respectively – cucumber + nasturiums + scarlet runner beans; AND rainbow swiss chard (which, with any luck, will actually sprout — so far there’s only been one, and it was very much in micro-green form. I’ve added the entire rest of the package in the hopes of getting some leafy greens on the balcony this summer.

I look around my neighbourhood – which is mostly apartment building and the kind of flat-roofed working class houses that have been here for the past hundred years (there’s not much around here that dates to earlier than that, because the whole area was pretty much wiped out by a massive fire in 1900).
I look at these buildings – at their empty, pebble-strewn rooves, and wonder how much food we could be growing in the full sun, almost-zero-shade expanses above our heads.

It makes me want to extend fire escapes skyward, anchor ladders to the rooves, set up a carefully weighted gang-plank (gain-plank?) from my balcony to the (lower) roof next door and smuggle over punctured wading pools, vermiculite, soil, and seedlings, and grow sun-loving plants in a place where they can thrive.

My balcony garden eats a good eight litres of water ever day or two. Which is a lot of water. Filling the bottom three two inches of rubbermade bin with vermiculite – or even gravel – and setting an unven length of PVC pipe into it, so that I could pour those two litres of water into the pipe, and let the plants suck the water up with their roots as-needed.
If I add more bins (likely, eventually) and can get ahold of a good load of gravel (or styrofoam chips?) I will probably try this. You still need drainage holes, but they go part-way up the side, rather than on the bottom. I think it’s worth a shot, and may help to lower the water requirements for my garden. 🙂

Tonight, we’ll be dining in the garden this evening — Sir Perry pear cider pared with stir-fried beef and asparagus, over couscous with peppers and tomatoes (almost all of which was donated by a friend who had an overly abundant barbicue on Friday – SCORE!) — So I should probably get the dinner started.

As such, that’s my prattle for today.

Meliad the Birch Maiden. 🙂