>The Wee Garden


The Wee Garden

I love to cook. Last night, I made buttermilk pancakes from scratch using my mom’s recipe (mom’s have the best recipes, don’t you think?) and they were delicious, of course. A post about them is coming soon. I also love fresh produce because it’s better than old, stale, or bruised produce and also, it’s tasty. As student loans continue to eat up a chunk of my income, there’s only so much I can spend on fresh, organic, local produce. Thus, my garden was born. I LOVE my garden. We live in a condo with no yard. It’s not one of those trendy condos with a rooftop garden (or rooftop access) either so don’t think I can grow peas and tomatoes while enjoying the downtown skyline. Nope, my 4×10-foot plot is three blocks away in what used to be the parking lot next to a bodega and an apartment building. It is not glamorous. I love it.

Peas and lettuce coming through in early spring

Emily Peake is the name of our garden site and it’s exactly what an urban garden should be. Our garden rules require an organic, non-chemcial approach to gardening to make sure that no one is stripping the soil of resources or contaminating the soil. No Miracle-Grow here. I do have some beet-root concentrate fertilizer but I haven’t used it at all this year and everything seems to be doing just fine indeed.

Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes

I had to wait a year for my garden plot because in our densely populated neighborhood, everyone wants to grow some food for themselves. After a year on the waiting list, I finally got our plot last year. Our first year was pretty good for ‘green’ gardeners. Even when a tornado went through downtown and knocked down my green beans, we managed to salvage most of our produce and pick our beans back up. We did, however, have some trouble with squirrels. Squirrels are pure evil. I used to love them, thinking they were cute and fluffy and sweet. Now I know, they’re Satan’s minions. Squirrels dug up and decimated every carrot I grew. Squirrels dug up an onion and hid it in the pantyhose I’d used to stake my tomato plant. Squirrels will yell at you (seriously) from a tree above your head and even when you run screaming at them (which I’m sure passersby find terrifying), they stand their ground. I’ve watched squirrels sneak into a tomato bush and when confronted, dart away with a plump, delicious tomato in their greedy little mouths. This year, squirrels would not best me. This year, we caged our carrots.

Sweet Orange Bell Peppers

Basil seedlings planted inside in February
Heirloom carrots!

We’ve actually put a lot of time into our little plot. In March we built a structure across the back of our plot on which peas and beans could grow. Senor was very helpful and excited because he got to use the drill I’d given him for Christmas last year. We purchased dirt and compost to fill in our plot a bit and we weeded religiously as soon as the ground thawed. Our plot is only 40 square feet but we found room to grow peas, french beans, beets, parsnips, onions, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro and chives. Beans and tomatoes are of course the queens of the garden. I wish we had more room so we could grow more and I could work on planting things on a biweekly basis to ensure a continuous crop. Unfortunately we just don’t have the space for that. I did use an amazing tool from Gardener’s Supply to design and plot out my garden online. This is what you can find me doing from November-February.

Our spring/summer pea crop just finished and I confess, I was disappointed. The pea seeds we bought at Home Depot were supposed to be sugar snap peas. Half of the peas that came out of our garden were snow peas. I purchased most of our seeds from the Seed Saver’s Exchange which I love for their heirloom seed collection. But back in January I was really antsy and I went to Home Depot and just bought some seeds as soon as they showed up in stores. I won’t be doing that again. I’m going to purchase some pea seeds for a summer/fall crop from Seed Saver’s Exchange and see if they fare better. For now everything is growing well. The cilantro actually exploded on me so we may pull it out and plant fresh so we can use it again. P.S. fish tacos are a delicious staple in our house and the only way to make them is with lots of fresh cilantro on hand!

Senor, caging the peppers off from squirrels!

For now we’re just watering, pruning, and trying to keep up with the weeding. There will be many, many posts about my garden because I may or may not be obsessed with it.

Four kinds of amazing basil

2 Comments on “>The Wee Garden”

  1. Emily says:

    >Your garden looks AWESOME, Alisha!! We're growing Brandywine tomatoes, too — and we also got our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. Good job!

  2. Wee says:

    >Yay!!! I love Seed Savers! I have all my fingers crossed that the squirrels don't scale my netting and steal all of my tomatoes. I don't trust those squirrels.

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