Early spring, I went to a local (aka non-big box) gardening store. The experience wasn’t pleasant at all but I came away from the encounter with this growing bag in which I am growing sunflowers and amaranth (loves lies bleeding). The smallest sunflower is a variety I haven’t grown before (Endurance) and I don’t think I’ll grow them again next year. They freak me out a little because they don’t seem to follow the sun like the other two (Russian Mammoths).

20160723_174028.jpg

 

These are my petunias. I didn’t grow them from seed but they are growing “like weeds”. They make me happy just looking at them. I don’t usually give my plants names but these I call Little Princelings for His Royal Purpleness (Prince).

20160722_161118.jpg

 

I am dedicated to trying to make my garden, small as it is, contribute something to the well-being of birds, bees and butterflies. The photo directly below is milkweed which is the only source of food for the endangered Monarch Butterfly. I hope it grows. I hope it grows!

20160723_180140.jpg

 

I wanted to grow sweet potatoes (for their edible leaves) in soil. I don’t know if it was the variety of sweet potato I selected but it didn’t work this year However I am still trying to grow sweet potato leaves but it’s going very slowly:

20160723_174045

 

I’m hoping that they’ll grow enough so that I can put them in soil and have delicious sweet potato leaves for the fall. Crossing my fingers!

Last year I tried to grow summer squash but it turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. I don’t have pictures of how it “just simply” died on me. I’m sure I did something wrong but what that was, I don’t know. So this year I’m going for butternut squash. I know it’s a fall/early winter vegetable but I’m starting it now. Since space (and money) is an issue I’m growing it in a bag.

20160723_180132.jpg

 

Amaranth. Amaranth. Amaranth. I chant it like a mantra because it is so important and valuable to me! This variety is green amaranth. I’ve already started snipping it to eat because once I found it was the source of the callaloo I ate as a child, well that was all she wrote!

20160723_180149.jpg

 

 

Potatoes are the bane of my gardening life. They take so damn long to form the tubers I love that I annually lose patience with them. This year is no exception! The pot in the background is a transplanted potato plant that I hope grows. As you can see, the AC is on my balcony and that makes things harder because of all the hot air backwash. The foreground potatoes seem to be doing well. In the spirit of companion planting, I’ve also planted mustard greens with them. When they grow their true leaves, I’ll start to thin them out.

20160723_180152.jpg

 

I’m growing other things as well; primarily greens because I really want to try my version of homesteading by freezing what we can’t eat so that during the coming winter, we’ll have fresh, homegrown greens to eat. At this point they’re too tiny to share.

 

 

Collards

November 13, 2015

They’re not on my list of favorite greens. That honor is bestowed on sweet potato leaves, callaloo (amaranth), various kinds of kale and spinach. However stopping by a community garden I saw the collards below.

20151022_175724

In a garden overly devoted to beans (monoculture), it was a welcome, glorious sight. I made it a point, when I was in the neighborhood, to park near the garden just so I could look at it. A few weeks ago, I stopped by and it looked like this:

20151028_101019

Some one, some family, will eat well, I thought. I was also inspired to try my hand at growing this green admittedly not one of my favorites. I bought a starter plant from a local farm, re-potted it and aside from lackadaisical watering, basically left alone. Yesterday, it rained, heavily. This is what the plant looked like earlier today:

20151113_083250

I am also practicing what I call lackadaisical gardening with some kale planted in my mother’s yard. I have watered it even less than I have the collards. It appears to not need my care or attention:

20151113_194551

When we lived in Brookline and community gardened, my plot neighbor had kale growing taller than me! I neglected to ask her how long she had been growing the kale but it had to be a minimum of 2-4 years. It could almost be said to be growing wild, if such a thing is possible in a community garden. Of course the growth is due to the self-seeding nature of the vegetable.  Now, kale is not on my list of native plants that I want to populate my mother’s yard with but the nutritional value outweighs that consideration.

With both the kale and the collards I plan on continue to not paying them any attention. I want to see how they do, especially with winter around the corner!