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where i've gone

dandelion puffs in sun
You may have noticed, perhaps, that I have not updated this blog in quite some time. Very observant of you!

I have a newer, more general, all-purpose kinda blog now. It's here:
http://recontented.blogspot.com/

I hope you will pop by, enjoy your time there, and leave me lots of comments!

Thanks and may your garden grow gracefully. : )
 ~ KT


once upon a time in my life

dandelion puff closeup
It's fall. My favourite time of the year. Though that's probably because when I think of fall I think of bright autumn leaves in the sunshine, cool crisp air, fuzzy sweaters, comfy blankets, and curling up with a hot chocolate by the fire. The reality is me trudging off to work in the rain under grey skies and coming home in the dark because the sun has set before I even leave the office. Ah well, it's still very lovely. On this rainy grey November day though I thought I'd FINILLY post the pictures I took in September, shortly after I moved into my new place. Back when it was sunny and we were still wearing tshirts...even outside!

Lots of pics, click here to see it all.Collapse )

So it seems like everyone's pretty happy with the new digs!! I certainly am. Maybe the plants can tell.

What else is happening... I adopted a couple of mystery succulent sproutlings from work, but I think I got to them too late and they seemed pretty intent on dying. I've also adopted 3 Spider Plant babies. One is in soil and 2 are still rooting in water. All are doing nicely.

I bought myself an Aloe a while ago. It was crooked and top-heavy, but I cut it back some and even in the dark-ish corner where it's sitting now it seems to be content. Wow, the corners are really dark in here right now. It's 1:30pm and it feels like 9:30pm.

On a brigher note, here are a couple of my neighbors during a visit on a less rainy, less cold and less miserable day:

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Thse birds were so impressed by the October Daphne in bloom they came in for a closer look



typical!

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Yup, Rogers are indeed incompetent. Probably not as much as Bell, but still pretty bad. Bad enough that I waited by my phone all day while the installation guys apparently came and left after knocking on the wrong door.

I'm antsy to get some pics of the new balcony, but have been preoccupied with unpacking.

The Nicotiana and the Kalanchoe never quite recovered, so have been left behind. I also had to leave my tomato plants because they're difficult to transport, but they're in good hands and I'll be able to go and harvest ripe tomatoes when they're ready. I picked 4 this weekend! I also need to go and pick up a few of my succulent houseplants that got lost in all the excitement, and will do that this week.

I posted some pictures of the Butterfly Weed that's turning red on the YGG forums, and, well, turns out it isn't butterfly weed at all! I guess these mysteries come in 3s. Once I figure out what I have I guess I'll have a better idea of how to take care of it.
It's turning red from the bottom, not the top like trees do, so I still don't know if something weird is happening or if it's normal.

Yesterday I bought myself a baby Snake Plant. They're supposed to be very good at cleaning the air, and they don't need too much light.

Once I'm a bit more settled I'll do a picture post. The new balcony is just the right size for my little garden.

perogies w/ tomatoes & herbs

tree hugger
Last night I made perogies (ok, I mean I prepared some frozen ones) and topped them with a mix of chopped tomatoes, chives, rosemary and thyme, all homegrown (ok, I mean I bought them as little plants and they grew into bigger plants). I topped all of it with grated mozzerella. YUM! Those Supersonic tomatoes are supersweet. I had some plain yogurt all ready to go but finished the perogies without using any.

I'm making myself hungry. Is it lunchtime yet?

moving forward/up/on

dandelion puff closeup
I've finally caught up and have brought the balcony back to some semblance of order. All plants have been pruned, watered, and de-aphided where necessary. I had to let some of my flowers go... I'm moving out in less than a week now, and a few of them were beyond hope. All the Black-eyed Susans, the Firecracker Columbine, the Calibrachoa, and the Calendula all went.

The Nicotiana and the Kalanchoe are still not aphid-free. Both are blooming though, and look pretty...ok the Nicotiana looks pretty tired but, as my last post showed, it's got serious aphid issues... If I can't get rid of the bugs in time for the move I might have to cast those two out of my garden. :(

My Chinese Lantern seedling still appears to be a seedling - it never grew and I'm not sure why. It sprouted several leaves but is still only an inch or two tall. Hopefully I can bring it inside over the winter and coax it to keep growing. The Butterfuly Weed is nice and tall and leafy, and is finally starting to form little buds. But the leaves at the bottom are turning bright red. I have a feeling that's a bad sign but am not sure what to do about it.

Moved some boxes and things into the new place today. It's been a tiring weekend, but I'm looking forward to getting the apartment together. I hope my internet gets hooked up without any problems...last time I moved it was a bit of a fiasco. Let's hope Rogers isn't as outrageously incompetant as Bell is.

Tags:

happy bday to...mato

dandelion puffs in sun
I ate my first home grown tomato on my birthday, right off the vine. It was SO GOOD!!!!!!!

Tags:

back at it

dandelion field
Alright, everything's settled.

My plants will move to a new home, out on a new balcony! There isn't as much room, and it's west-facing rather than south-facing, but I hope to bring as many of my sproutlings as possible. I move at the end of August and I'm looking forward to getting to know my new space.

For a while there I took a break from the garden in order to focus my energies on finding a new home, so I'm having to make up for a bit of neglect now.

aphided!!
Aphids attacking my Night Scented Nicotiana : (


Ugh... I read today that having dandilions is good for your garden because they attract ladybugs, who love to eat aphids. I think I'm going to start a container of dandilions. They're edible too, and exremely good for you. And I just love them anyway. They're determined, spirited little flowers that I think are only unloved because they're so hard to control. This makes me not want to put them in containers at all since it feels to me like caging a bird, but I think it would be nice to include them in my (new) garden.

Click to read more...Collapse )

In other developments, 3 out of 4 of my Kalanchoe plants are bouncing back from aphids and flowering happily. My Butterfly Weed plant has grown to a ridiculous 2'6", and my Upland White Aster is forming little buds. My Mosquito plant produced some little purple flowers - which was a nice surprise. I accidentally let my Columbine go to seed, but it's still producing flowers and I've saved the seeds for planting.

It's starting to feel a bit like fall, even though it's still been very hot. It's the flavour of change that lets you know something is coming, and it's exciting. I've been very lucky to have the space that I've had, and to have been able to start gardening on this comparatively grand scale even though I don't have a yard. I hope my new home allows me the same freedom to experiment and learn. Actually, this feels a bit like leveling-up in a video game. A south-facing glass balcony turned out to be a piece of cake, but how will I do in a west-facing one? My space will be more limited so I'll have to plan more carefully. The winter will be coming soon too so I'll have to switch to indoor gardening and reconnect with my houseplants. No problem, all part of the fun and a chance to try new plants.

As it often is when I update this blog, it's a holiday weekend and I would normally have spent the day at work. So I have a 4-day week this week, and then another one next week because I'm taking my birthday off. Good grief, that means my birthday is in a week... The summer goes so quickly.

Guerrilla Gardening on CTV

black flower
Guerrilla gardeners break the law with 'green' graffiti

Andy Johnson, CTV.ca News

Toronto — As cities grow and green space disappears, a group of environmentally conscious urban dwellers are taking matters into their own hands to turn parking spaces into gardens, bus stop roofs into lush terraces and neglected parks into inviting play spaces.

It's a phenomenon called guerrilla gardening and it's changing the way our cities look as volunteers, working mostly under the cover of darkness without permit or permission on private property, transform abandoned public spaces.

(Full Story)

disappointments

black flower
All of my worms died. Every last one of them. :(


Not sure what went wrong. Maybe I didn't put enough air holes. Maybe the box was too small. Maybe the worms were impostors and not really red wigglers at all. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

I guess it's good timing. I'm looking for a new home and at the moment I'm not sure that I'll be able to bring my garden with me, let alone a bin full of worms and rotting veggies. I'm sure that would be fun to explain to my new landlord. "Well, see, when I said I didn't have any pets I meant I didn't have any normal pets..."

I know that no matter where I end up I will grow something, anything, wherever I possibly can. And if I find I have the room, I'll probably try the composting thing again. Somehow I'll make this work, and if I have to be creative about it then fine.

I am sad though. All those innocent worms. And not knowing the fate of my baby tomatoes, my confused Amarlyllis, my resilient Kalanchoes, my dizzy looking pepper plant, my mystery seedling....


But life is change. Or, to put it differently: Shit happens, but it does make great fertilizer. It's all in how you handle it.

mysterious mysteries

tree hugger
A funny thing's happened... I seem to have some mis-labled flowers.

My Calendulas, which the seed packet said would be peach pink, have come up pale yellow.

One of the 2 plants I labled as Fireweed seems to not be fireweed at all, has different leaves than the other, and has bloomed some kind of maroon-y flower... Not sure what it is since it doesn't seem to match any of the descriptions on my seed packets. Weird! Oh well, maybe once my camera is juiced up I'll take a picture of the mystery flower.


Recently I've switched to using coir instead of bagged potting soil. After not finding my favourite and supposedly eco-friendly brand of soil 5 or 6 times in a row, desperate to avoid Miracle Gro products and still wanting to not buy anything with peat moss in it, I came home with a couple of bricks of coir.

For some reason I'd convinced myself that coir alone wasn't a good choice for potting established plants, but I was very wrong. I still have some compost left from a public eco-day (I do love FREE COMPOST!) and have been mixing that in and using it as mulch. My plants are happy, and so am I -- even 2 of the tiny bags of soil were heavy for me and awkward to carry home on the subway, but coir is extremely light and goes a loooooong way. I'm sure it's much cheaper by volume as well.

[I often think about the fact that people with cars have the ability to transport immense amounts of stuff with almost no thought. I think that perhaps if everyone had to carry everything they wanted/bought/owned in their hands or on their backs they would not only be more selective about what was worth having, but also more appreciative of what they did bring home. We've pretty much lost the connection between physical labour and finished products in this industrialized consumer society, but maybe if we all bought only as much as we could carry at a time, we'd be a little bit better off... ]

There are only a couple of catches with the coir. The more minor one is that coir is kind of granular and it tends to stick to your hands, so is messier to work with than potting soil. I enjoy getting my hands dirty though, so this is only a minor nuisance.
The other silly thing is that the granules are almost exactly the same size, shape and yellowy-brown colour as the aphids that have been stubbornly (but only somewhat successfully) feeding on my plants lately. So when I'm checking for aphids I really have to pay attention and question whether every crumb of coconut husk is actually alive.

So the aphid battle continues but their numbers are way down. Hopefully I'll get the last of them before the season is over...


In other news, my largest pepper plant is enormous and has begun to flower! The tomatoes are slowly growing. Alas, my pea plants are history. The peas were pretty tasty though.

My Black-Eyed Susan has also bloomed.

And, speaking of mystery plants, I found a large seedling that had started to grow in what it must have thought was Seed Heaven, but was actually the compost bin. Of course I potted it. I have no idea what it is, but it's doing very well. Second chances are wonderful things.

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black flower
nature_nurturer
nature_nurturer

About

Having started just a few months ago with an empty slab of concrete and ending up with an array of happy plants (a.k.a. "my balcony garden"), I think I can now actually call myself a gardener. Not a plant whisperer quite yet, but a gardener.

This journal is mostly a way to track my progress from first being bitten by the gardening bug (in downtown Toronto! in the middle of winter!!) to... whatever I'm growing now.

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