Window Garden 2014

IMG_0129Our CSA has almost begun! And we are so ready to have farm veggies coming out of our ears. But in the meantime, our NYC window garden has given us a hearty head start in the veggie and herb department.

IMG_0135Below is a list of treats in our garden and plans for what to do with them. We are very proud to be growing:

  • Mesclun – For Big Potluck Salads
  • Mustard Greens – Cooked with Garlic, or Raw in a Salad
  • Sweet Peppers – Baked Stuffed Red Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes, Feta and Thyme (recipe courtesy of Martha)
  • Eggplant – Being asked to choose one eggplant dish is like being asked to choose between your children… am I right, Sophie?
  • Cherry Tomatoes – With which we will do any of these fabulous 10 Things
  • Parsley – Say, in an [Oh, My] Goddess Dressing?
  • Chives – In everything. (And also Cheddar-Chive Biscuits on the occasional adventurous Sunday)
  • ScallionsPeanut Noodles
  • ThymeRoasted Potatoes with Olive Oil and Thyme
  • Sage – Butternut Squash with Sage Oil
  • Basil Vegan Pesto
  • Lavender – Lavender Honey Ice Cream, and Teas
  • The Lemon Tree – Which somehow remains still alive to this day and with which we will enjoy Lavender-Lemon Infused Gin
  • Some Flowers – Mostly for joy
  • And a cat named Rufus Waddlesworth

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While the season has just begun, the leaves in our windows are just a harbinger of the harvest to come.

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Windowsill Growings-Ons

We’ve made some mentions lately of goodies from our garden being thrown in our meals, like scallions in our peanut noodles and chives in our eggs, et cetera, but it’s been a while since we’ve given a progress report on our window garden’s goings-ons.

Our cherry tomato plants we were so dubious about are actual tomatoes… or tomatoes of the not-red-yet variety.  They’re cramped and could definitely be happier – drought not helping – but they’re fruiting, so I, for one, have big plans for their future.

Cherry Tomato Plant

Cherry Tomato Plant

We have added zucchini to our plot, knowing that it tends to grow copiously. And copious it has been! The zucchini greenery has spread like mad, and we now have little zuchi flowers a-bloomin’!

Zucchini Flowers

I’ve heard rumors you can cook with the flowers, but haven’t heard of any appealing recipes. Would be delighted by contributions.

And a certain someone demanded we have a lemon tree. I have no clue on earth how a lemon tree will survive in our apartment come winter, but I assume we’ll find out. And it must be going well enough as little buzzy bees have been visiting our windowsill!

Lemon Tree BeesAnd as our last addition, we grew some berries! They’ve quickly gotten squiggly with the heatwave we’ve been suffering, but when we get to them in time they’ve been a stupendous treat.

Strawberry Plant

In less good news, our spinach totally kicked the bucket. It was a comic failure. As were our mustard greens. And our mint has on days and off days. But I’m taking the optimistic view that for our first window garden ever, things are going in our favor.

Farm Friends

Sometimes new friends come in your CSA!

Don’t be startled, they come with the territory.  And if you let them, they’ll tickle your thumb.

Above is Albert. As we have a window garden there’s a convenient place for Albert to live when he accidentally arrives in our tote bag. Albert’s made several friends since: Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein, Buttersworth, and Swarthy. They all live happily in the soil and throw bug parties and watch passers-by.

I suggest you burrow through your goodies from your share and make sure you don’t have any new pals nibbling on your vegetables. We had the alarming experience of almost cooking Buttersworth on Tuesday, and have since been more thorough in our searches.

Anyone have a suggestion on where to put farm friends when you don’t have a window garden? (Flushing not an option.)

Foot-by-Foot Gardens

Our effort is to increase farming and gardening in the city by planting our own window garden and supporting rooftop gardens, urban farms and farmers markets. But sometimes we can’t help but escape to where the farming and gardening already is. Especially in the summer, the two of us find ourselves sneaking away to help family members with their gardening projects, and spending oodles of time hidden in the country jumping in lakes.

The Lake

It’s likely that we’ll be posting a handful of things that look decidedly un-New York this summer.  But we will continue to bring farms to city folk. For our first un-NY offering is a “foot by foot” garden project that we lent a hand to and think can offer ideas to apartment dwellers on how to grow a reasonable amount of food in a small amount of space – like a window.

My mum started a garden this year where she diligently divided her planter up with rope to section off 12″ by 12″ spaces and plant within each square.

Foot-by-Foot GardenShe’s growing lettuce, swiss chard, beets, peas, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, various herbs, and other glorious goodies!

Beets

Despite our teenie-weenie apartments, we all have one foot to designate to greenery.  So grow stuff!
(Keep it up, Mom.)

Progress!

For those of you who aren’t near a garden of your own, here’s a sneak-peak at how the summer crops are progressing in our window.

On May 11th —

On May 19th —

Basil

On May 29th —

On June 7th —

And I’m pleased to say that as of five minutes ago, our window garden looked like this!

Progress!

Still awaiting the arrival of our tomatoes, but they’re surely trying. And as this morning I had chives from our garden in eggs from our CSA for breakfast (!),  I’m thinking I can be patient and await our upcoming treats. Seems to be working thus far.

Rufus is Not a Vegetarian (And Yet…)

Someone is peeking in our garden!  That’s right, our garden!

Our windows have blossomed over the past few weeks and we now have the beginnings of spinach, tomatoes, basil, lavender, scallions, mint, mustard greens, and possibly a radish.  (No preordained tomato smack-down as of yet.)  These herbal additions should make a stellar addition to our summer meals.  No spinach dinners yet, but we have put mint in drinks, lavender in tea, used mustard greens as our bitter herb at Passover, and added basil to just about everything.

Above, by the way, is Rufus Waddlesworth.

Below, are Rufus and Firenze giving a solid once-over to our fruits of labor.

Growing Growing Gone

Window Garden

Now that our wee buds have gotten a little bigger and stronger, the time has come to transplant them to their permanent home! For us, in our apartment, that means a container. For some, it means the ground. We simply placed all the newspaper rounds into a container full of soil. And now, it’s a garden!

Meanwhile, our spinach is shooting up, as are our onions, and we’re compulsively checking on the tomatoes to see if there’s any change there. None yet. But I’m ready.

I was feeling pretty awesome about our vegetable garden until an overly logical friend came over yesterday, peered out of our window skeptically, and said, “Oh great, you’ll have a meal’s worth of food.” I’ve chosen to ignore him… but it still stings.

Wee Buds

Sprouted SpinachSprouts!  Wee buds have erupted in our window garden and look suspiciously like potential food!

Despite incredible environmental odds, our little buds have made an appearance into our home, and are becoming a minor obsession.

“Have you watered the plants today?”

“Yes, of course!”

“Oops.”

“Why?”

“I might have watered them again.  They looked hungry.”

“Are they getting any sun?”

“Does the TV set count?”

“As what?”

“I don’t know, some form of light?”

“No.”

“Have you spoken to them today?”

“I played them Mozart.”

“Mozart is for babies, not plants.”

“What’s for plants?”

… Excessively.  I’ve pre-booked a psychologist for their future developed zucchini and spinach-selves to deal with the neuroses caused by their smothering parents.

Also, due to the auspicious start of our buds, I have become predictably cocky about the color of my thumbs.  And have therefore jumped the proverbial gun and planted cherry tomatoes, as of this evening.  I am clearly doomed for a smack-down.

Cherry Tomatoes

Please RSVP

As one of my favorite human beings said to me yesterday, “Winter, when you’re this late to the party, don’t show up at all.”  And as she, slightly north of us, expected SNOW last night she has reason to revoke her RSVP.

The fickle change in weather patterns is putting a serious damper on our One Square Foot project.  Our windowsill is either too cold to promote growing – with chills radiating through the glass – or the heater is blasting nearby enough to dry our poor baby buds right out.

Spring, why do you tease me so?

We’ve been diligently watering and trying to fend off both the stifling heat and the bitter cold, adjusting temperatures, fitfully moving plants off the radiator, onto the radiator, off the radiator… but we haven’t given up hope.  I’m going to love these damn plants ’til they bud, whether they ask to or not.  Winter unwelcome.

Watered Melon

Quite the belation!  In case there was concern over the writer’s survival of Hurricane Irene – no need – crisis averted.  Alive and well.

Even our farm managed to endure!

Watermelon

(Although many didn’t, but we can help by eating – ((oh, must I?)) at Dine Out Irene.)

Since the monstrous tropical storm we all got walloped by, we had our concerns that most of our vegetables would be, well, soup.  But they managed to survive beautifully, with few complications.

When this week we accumulated heirloom shell beans, salad mix, edamame, corn, carrots, peppers, watermelon, apples, and grapes, dinner tonight was a very easy and delightful hodgepodge.

Like for instance, a mesclun salad withWatermelon Salad sliced watermelon and some local cheese?

… I admit the seeds caused problems of the choking variety. Perhaps a plate of edamame and some corn on the cob?  Or grapes and apples for dessert?  Yes, I think so please.

Meanwhile, although our farm might have endured righteously, look what Irene did to our park!