Monday, December 20, 2010

the garden in december

it's been a great while since i posted about the back yard garden. As we spent about two months preparing the store to open, late summer turned to early fall. We were so busy day to day that the garden became a welcoming break- really the only way I could relax. I spent many mornings sneaking some time in, tending to the harvest and sharing the bounty with friends and my newly formed staff. We had piles of ripe, yellow pear tomatoes, tall stalks of lemon grass, voluminous basil plants and plenty of thyme and rosemary, and a bit of oregano. The eggplants grew tall and started to fruit a second time- but some critter came and stole the tiny fruits. I bought an already- fruited hot pepper plant and gave many of the peppers away, as I had no time to cook anything.

As I was walking home one day in the early fall, I passed Gowanus nursery and stopped in. I asked for some recommendations for fall plants and came home with two young lettuce plants and a packet of *French Breakfast* radish seeds. I had pulled the thyme out of the garden to pot and planted the lettuce in the emptyish bed. I never did have time to plant the radish, but the lettuce thrived up until our first frost, which was just a few weeks ago. Problem was, cats started discovering my now empty garden and used it as a litter box. I had heard that cat poop is toxic, so I was wary of eating the lettuce. I kept scooping up and discarding the poo, but it's hard to stop once they've started. In reality the poop probably didn't touch the lettuce or its roots, but the thought of it grossed me out. I sadly watched as the lettuce got bigger and made it through to December, but went untouched.

In the mean time, I gradually brought in the herbs that were in pots and moved inside some other potted plants. Since we live in a basement apartment, I thought it would be best to bring nearly all of the plants to the store, and that's what I did. But then... as the weather got colder I noticed some of the plants having a hard time in the icy cold window. The store might get more light, but it's gigantic and drafty. At the same time I noticed that the plants I left at home were doing well. So back on home they came! The plant pictured below, which never left the apartment, is beginning to flower. Our upstairs neighbor Aki, who moved out over the summer, gave me her plants and this was one of them. I don't know what it is. anyone? anyone? btw, it sure is nice to have my herbs at home and it makes me wonder why I didn't try growing herbs inside A LONG TIME AGO.

okay, so I almost left out one of the most important parts of this story. the day before our store opened, bobbi and carlos came down to help us with some last-minute things. before they left I cut them a bunch of stuff from the garden and they kept saying, "are you sure? it's too much!" to which I replied "take it! please!" my garden looked amazing on October 10- the peak of its beauty. then on the night of our opening party, as we were chatting with friends, the sky started to darken. a few of them had come on bike, and wondered if they should leave right then, before the impending storm came in. I went outside to check the sky, and I could see dark clouds coming from the north. Ariel decided to leave (on bike) and as a few others were making their way to their car, a huge wind started up and they came back inside. the group of us who were left watched as giant hail stones covered the sidewalk and with them, piles of broken leaves that were sliced off the trees.

the next day as the sun shone, the sidewalks of brooklyn were covered in lacerated leaves, and most of the trees were stripped bare of their still-green leaves. I somehow thought that since our back yard is usually protected from the wind, my garden would be spared. the west side seemed okay except for some minor damage to the vegetable garden. I was out there for a good while before I turned and saw the other side- and let out a huge O MY GOD! the potted plants on the east side looked like they were hacked up with a machete. the worst hit was the wandering jew- it had been so lush and full before, but it was now chopped down to its stem.

a lot of the potted herbs had been damaged a bit, and have since been recovering indoors. so anyways, it is great to be able to continue *gardening* through the winter, always discovering new things about plants and how best to take care of them. I've brought most of the potted plants back home, except for the large palm from Aki, which is hearty enough to thrive in the store. b even added to the indoor garden by buying a bunch of miniature evergreens. they are so darn easy to take care of! maybe next fall I'll have more time to do a proper transition out back, and I'll introduce some evergreens outside.

1 comment:

dash said...

I think the flowering tree is an Azalea. Seems that they enjoy shade and cooler temps as they usually grow under larger trees. It was possibly too hot for the plant outside during the summer. Did some research and found some people in warmer climates whose Azaleas bloomed in fall.