Friday, October 21, 2011

Rooftop garden tour (October, 2011)

The last time I wrote about the urban container garden on the roof of our Philadelphia apartment, I was dealing (poorly) with an infestation of bugs that had attacked my Asian greens. I never did come up with a good solution for that problem, but I have to admit I didn't try very hard.

That section of the garden has become something of a science experiment in the past few months as I let the greens go to seed to see what the seed pods would look like. Maybe I'll try growing leafy greens again in the spring, but the growing season on the rooftop is almost over for now.

Eventually when we build a deck on the roof I'd like to create a small cold frame that we can use to grow cold-weather vegetables such as spinach, but for now the garden is in a race against nature to see how many snow peas it can produce.

Overall snow peas have turned out to be my vegetable of the year. By sowing a fairly large number of seeds (given the small space) directly in the soil I've managed to get a pretty good crop this fall. The pea pods mature very quickly once the plants are full grown and I have to pick a few every day -- sometimes even twice a day.

It usually takes 2-3 days to pick enough for a meal, but so far I've been happier with my fall snow pea crop than with anything else I've tried growing on the roof.

The climate probably has a lot to do with that. This fall hasn't been too warm, too rainy, or too cloudy -- although we've had a bit of each condition.

The amount of work I put into trying to grow sweet peppers this summer, on the other hand, is barely paying off. I've picked about three peppers so far -- two with very thin skin and one nice and juicy red bell pepper which was a bit on the small side. I'm hopeful that two last peppers that are hanging on will fully ripen before it gets too cold for the plants to survive.

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