Thursday, April 12, 2012

Urban Gardening Year 2

Suffice to say, last year's attempt at growing some vegetables didn't pan out. Out of the numerous lettuce plants, two tomato plants, 4 cucumbers plants and 2 strawberry plants, I got 2 grape tomatoes, a few lettuce leaves and 4 or 5 strawberries.

This year, I am armed with more info, more experience, fertilizer and more determination.

Here is this year's attempt at container gardening inside my apartment. These pics were taken a few days ago on the 8th, so there has been some more growth since then.

The red bucket is a yellow summer squash plant flanked by a pair of cherry tomato plants. The little cup in the window sill are basil seedlings. The little cap in the squash container contains neem oil (see next post for what it is), which is a natural essential oil that helps to repel pests, particularly spider mites, which killed my cucumbers last year.

I am also trying my hand at upside down gardening in order to conserve space. A 2 liter bottle was converted to grow cucumber. I also planted a lettuce seed on top since it is a companion plant to cucumber. In the bag, I have another cherry tomato plant growing. On top of the soil, I have also planted some basil seeds since it can help to improve the flavor of the tomato plants and can also repel pests. So far, the cucumber is doing great and the upside down tomato plant looks a little sad but no hope is lost yet.

A closer look at the cucumber.

My container of black eyed simpson lettuce (same as I grew last year). Most lettuce varieties grow better in cooler weather but the black eyed simpson is more heat and sun tolerant. Next year, I shall try a cooler variety in order to free up some space for other plants that need more sun. This year, I added in used (but dried out) coffee grounds since coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and lettuce craves nitrogen.

And last but not least, a family of sunflowers and cosmos (on the end to the right) that I will hopefully be able to have flower this year. Last year's attempt with flowers didn't work so well.

One thing I am doing different this year is actually using fertilizer and pollinating the flowers by hand since I don't have any bees that live inside my apartment. I just didn't think about it last year :)

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