April 22, 2009


Not only is it Earth Day today (which is just another way to say...live green EVERY day!), but I also have exciting news.

Ryan and I harvested our very first salad the other night! This is the VERY FIRST partial meal we've had from our container garden. We had enough lettuce to make two small side salads. This is organic mesclun lettuce, grown from seed. I planted 3 containers of it, and two of those containers came up. What I'm learning is that plants really do have specific planting seasons, and if you miss that window... it's too late. (My mom had the same thing happen with her heirloom moon and star watermelon, so as sad as that is, it makes me feel better.)

Here's our salad dressed with EVOO, red wine vinegar, fresh-ground pepper, and thyme (also from our garden). We also welcomed a new garden family member this week: Gertrude the Dwarf Apple Tree. She's a beaut, and until I accidentally tapped one of the fruits, already had two tiny apples growing from her branches.

That conversation went like this:

Me: "Look at this! It's a dwarf apple tree, and can live its whole life in a container. So either these are the two most expensive apples I've ever bought, at $15 a piece..." I point with pride at one apple, then the other; and at that moment, my finger slips and taps the second baby apple...Ryan and I watch with dread, and not without some expectation, as the tiny apple goes tumbling to the ground...

Ryan: "Uhoh."

Me: "So either this is the most expensive apple I've ever bought or we'll have a nice harvest come mid-May and early June."

So goes the life of Amber.

Here's a shot of our garden: I have the most hope for our bush beans (bottom row, to the right of the big silver pot) and tomatoes (all over the place). The herbs are doing ok--the basil is coming up strong, as is the dill.... but cilantro likes a cooler sprouting environment and, again, I'm afraid we missed that window.

We have one topsy-turvy tomato plant, which is an heirloom variety (green stripe, I think) that I'm hoping can handle growing upside down. The parsley (bottom, in the large white planter), had all but died when my mom took one look at it and told me to trim off the dead parts. It sprung back to life and has never tasted better!

The blueberry plant (far right in the blue planter) I'm really rooting for, but am worried it's not getting enough drainage; I'm thinking of repotting it in a 100% soil-less mix. Gertrude the apple tree is to the left of the blueberry, and to her left is Ryan's patch of ridiculously healthy tomatillo plants (we dug up a little of the apartment's ground for that one).

And we've got a beautiful (soon to become more beautiful) bouganvilla that our upstairs neighbor gave me. Hopefully that'll attract some bees. Nothing like a little garden inspiration to get Earth Day off to the right start. Let today be the day you start making those green decisions you've been putting off! :)