Growing Food

My Apartment Garden: …And That’s a Wrap!

It’s officially Fall in New York City. We’ve been having that awkward  transition weather, where a few uncharacteristically hot days give you false hope that summer is still lurking around. This past weekend I finally admitted defeat and packed up my balcony garden, thus ending  my 2012 gardening experiment. I did leave the strawberry plant out to see what happens, and moved my herbs indoors to let them cling to life for a few more days, but yanked out the big zucchini and tomato plants.

Now that it’s over, can I say my first stab at growing food was a success? I would say so! Considering I had zero knowledge going into this, I’m proud of my very steep learning curve. I may not have gotten any strawberries, enough arugula to make a full salad, nor any full sized tomatoes, but I did eat several delicious zucchinis and squash blossoms, and managed to prevent my basil, thyme, and rosemary from dying, enjoying fresh herbs all summer long. Before this experiment, I put gardening in the same bucket as knitting or owning lots of cats–boring old lady stuff that is so uncool. But I was wrong. There is something deeply satisfying and meditative about creating and maintaining life, and literally enjoying the fruits of your labor. Hopefully next year I will have access to some outdoor space again, and grow even more food! Goodbye for now, apartment garden.

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Dessert

The 2012 Ice Pop Project: Coconut Milk and Roasted Strawberries

My friends said this photo looks like it’s from the Dexter opening credits. Aside from the serial killer vibes, I’m happy to hear that ’cause it is hard thinking of new ways to photograph an ice pop!

Anyway, ice pop #2 is from The Year in Food’s Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk recipe. It would have been interesting to see how it would taste with cardamom. I didn’t have any, but it tasted delicious and exotic nonetheless. The coconut milk part wasn’t overly sweet, but every couple of bites you’d get that candy-like roasted strawberry. Yum.

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Growing Food

My Apartment Garden: Zucchini is King of the Seedlings

Time for another apartment garden update! Now that it’s definitely Spring and they’re all grown up, I moved my arugula and thyme to their new home on the balcony. Last Sunday I went to the farmers market and got some new additions to the garden: a new rosemary plant (the last one didn’t make it), basil, and a pot of daisies.

Is arugula supposed to grow this slowly? C’mon, guys. I need you to be salad size. So I can eat you. Maybe I need bigger pots for them.

Here’s basil photo-bombing the thyme and rosemary. Mmmm love fresh herbs.

I’ve kinda been on a Bones binge (underrated show), and now I can’t help but associate the word “daisy” with that super annoying character. Ugh. Anyway, these daisies are absolutely beautiful but I’ve had absolutely NO luck with the first two potted flowers I got. I have no idea how to take care of them. Any ideas, people?

Now for the indoor seedlings. At first I thought I’d skip the whole seed-buying when I decided to start growing food. I knew I wouldn’t be planting that many anyway, so I might as well let someone else do the work and just buy seedlings. But let me tell you it’s true what they say–starting from a seed is so much more rewarding. I get so excited when something green pops up one day where there used to be nothing. My strawberry seedling is still looking alive and well, but why so small? Maybe it’s time to move her to the Earthbox. I also started my tomato and zucchini since summer will be here soon and WOAH. They grew fast. Especially the zucchini. I mean it makes sense ’cause the seed was huge, but literally, in two days it was like BAM, here I am! (rock you like a hurricane…) King of the Seedlings.

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Growing Food

My Apartment Garden: Rosemary Bites the Dust

It’s been three weeks since my first post about the beginnings of my apartment garden. I thought it would be a good time for a quick update. I bought a rosemary plant a few weeks ago that was absolutely delicious to harvest and use in recipes. Sadly, my little rosemary wasn’t strong enough to weather the weird changes in temperature in April and died, boo.

Now for the good news! I’ve been giving the rest of my plants about an ounce of water almost everyday. One of my strawberry seeds sprouted. I set up my EarthBox and plan on moving the strawberry seedling there once it’s a little bigger. It’s been warming up here in NYC, so I moved the thyme and arugula out onto the balcony last weekend. Two arugula seeds sprouted in one plant pot, but none in the other. Out of fear of the two seedlings duking it out, I carefully removed one and placed it in the larger, empty pot. I was so worried I was going to kill it as its roots are fragile, but it’s already got four little leaves and is looking strong and healthy, woohoo! I’d say this is a pretty successful start. Tomatoes and zucchinis soon?

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Growing Food

My Apartment Garden: Yelling at Seeds

All right, folks. Spring is here. I’ve read my first two books on growing vegetables. I’m ready to get started with this apartment garden! This is what I have so far. Two small pots with arugula seeds and two little seed cups I made from newspaper with strawberry seeds. I also bought an English Thyme plant at the farmers market, ’cause I needs my herbs now and I’m too lazy to start them from seeds. I covered the seed pots in plastic wrap to keep them warm and moist. All I’m doing to try get my seeds to germinate (and my thyme to continue living) is putting them by a sunny window and giving all of them a little bit of water everyday.

The first couple of days I impatiently checked on them constantly. I was so worried that they wouldn’t sprout that I resorted to repeatedly yelling “c’monnnnnnn” at them. The boyfriend didn’t think this was a helpful gardening technique. But guess what happened within a few days:

How exciting! The smaller arugula pot has a little sprout already. THIS IS THE FIRST LIFE I’VE EVER CREATED. Let’s hope I don’t let it die before it gets to grow into a big beautiful plant…that I will kill and eat in a salad with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

It’s still a little chilly right now, but I will probably set all this stuff up on the balcony soon and move whatever sprouts outdoors. C’monnnnnnnnn, plants!

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