Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Victory Garden: Part Duex

Our faithful reader(s) may recall that last summer we decided to stick it to the man and attempted to grow our own produce. We had mixed results. The herbs turned out fantastic and continue to save us big money. However, with our attempt to grow tomatoes we experienced some growing pains. We left them indoors way too long and did not harden them for outdoor life. They would up growing really tall and skinny and could not support themselves. Our babies barely survived a 5 block move from inside my old place to outside on other blogger’s patio. Before embarking on the big move downtown (yes I lived in 3 residences last summer) we decided to do the right thing and put our beloved tomato plants out of their misery. They were circling the drain, but it was a still a tough decision. Although we did get a modest yield of undersized tomatoes, our harvest was less than impressive.

(Funny sidenote: While driving the U-Haul downtown I was pulled over for the first time in my life. The probable cause was suspicion of terrorism; apparently the DC police frown upon anyone driving a U-Haul within a block of the White House. I guess that’s what you get for following GPS. Officer: ‘Didn’t you see the signs for no trucks?’ Me: ‘No and I didn’t realize we were in a truck’ We had to show them the contents of the U-Haul which at that point of the move consisted of trash bags full of junk and our herbs, a pretty sketchy combo. The officer was able to discern that the trash bags were not filled with fertilizer and my herbs were for eating  not smoking, so I was given a warning, but my name is probably on a list somewhere now.)

This spring we took a little more care with the whole process. For starters we purchased an incredibly helpful book McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container. We chose a strain of container tomato seeds that are bred for life in a pot on the patio. We used a mini greenhouse to germinate the seeds then transferred them to biodegradable planters before transferring them to their final pot (being sure to bury them all the way up to their first branches to promote root growth). Once the plants were big enough to go outside we began putting them on the roof deck every day for a couple of hours to harden, increasing their outdoor time until they were ready for the permanent move. The plants are strong and sturdy and appear to be thriving on the roof. However, much like parents with their second child, we neglected to take as many pictures as we should have so you will just have to take our word for it.

Stay tuned for upcoming Victory Garden part Duex posts including ‘Water for elevenplants’ and ‘Your butt isn’t the only thing that can break wind’

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