As the growing season in my two gardens draws to an end, I’m reflecting on their successes, failures, and mysteries on this rainy morning. The biggest surprise was that the Catskills garden, in all its relatively-unattended glory, flourished more vibrantly than the roof deck garden. Kerry rigged a crazy, and very successful, protective border around the country garden that actually managed to keep out the critters that I did NOT succeed at keeping out of my flower beds. It involved metal fencing on the ground around the perimeter, deer netting stretched around the outside as a fence, and then also bunched up on the ground all around. The bunched up netting trips up the little pests that try to crawl into the garden. The way it looks won’t have me competing with Martha for garden beauty contests, but I’m not complaining. It works!
The summer on the roof was hot as hell and we struggled to keep everything watered enough. Its hard to say if I didn’t water enough or watered too much. I had thought that the tomatoes would love that weather, so we planted quite a few plants. Half the plants suffered from the dreaded “blossom bottom rot”, which meant the top would look ripe and delicious and the underside would be black. Not pretty or appetizing, unfortunately. After Googling this problem and trying different remedies unsuccessfully, I remain perplexed. The cherry tomatoes, however, flourished in both places.
To my delight, the many lettuces, jewel-toned swiss chard, and kale all did really well all season long. We got some beautiful beets and sweet peas too. My jalepenos thrived in both gardens as well. We planted a single zucchini plant in the Catskills and it was so incredibly robust that it kept producing fruit that would go from a flower to a 15 pound beast in two weeks. Here is the latest one that appeared, small-child-like, out of nowhere. I’m trying to work up the gumption to shred, pickle and slice it into submission. I pray its the last. Its testing my creativity.
Its almost garlic planting time and we are going to add another bed in the Catskills to dedicate to planting the little cloves that miraculously grown into heads over the bitter winter and spring. There’s nothing like the vibrant taste of fresh garlic pulled out of the garden. I’ve been using so much of this summer’s harvest that it may not get us through the winter, so we are going to increase what we plant this year.
I’m sure going to miss the delight of eating food that was plucked from the earth moments before and will be counting down, and perusing seed catalogs until next March rolls around.
My Brooklyn rooftop garden, mid-summer: