Urban Jungle

I have been meaning to post about our adventures in urban gardening since the day we came home with a pallet full of flowers, herbs and vegetables from the Italian Market!

We are coming up on our third summer of living in our second story apartment and for the past two years our beautiful flower boxes have sat empty. We always sort of thought that we'd be here for a lot less time than we have been. Knowing we would be living here for an unforeseen amount of time, I felt that it was time to stick some plants in the ground, or, well, coco-lined flower boxes, pots and troughs.

Our first venture was to begin with simple annuals in the flower box that hangs off the side of our railing. I picked a variation between tall and small growing plants. A few fillers and spillers as well as a variety of colors. I instantly fell in love with the white, yellow, red and purple mixed snapdragons at the market and I used those as the basis for the color palette. I think everything flows well together.

When you're choosing flowers for a flower box, you want them to look cohesive since they are grown so closely together. Pick colors that play off of each other, or find a flower that has a mixture of colors and then choose other flowers to correspond with that particular color variety. I also think it's important to choose flowers that grow at varied heights and girth; mix in taller flowers with ones that spill over the side, like taller ranunculus and flowing ivy.

The next thing we tackled was a repeat of our vintage soda box herb garden. My mother in law put this together for me last year as a pre-wedding gift and it was very successful. We decided to attempt growing various herbs again this year, keeping with some favorites like mint, basil and cilantro (even though we accidentally bought parsley instead and had to get cilantro later; ALWAYS SNIFF!) We decided to try some new herbs as well; lavender, rosemary and Thai basil. Not sure what we're going to do with the Thai basil but it smelled pretty good. Any tips on what to use it with?

The one thing I did notice last year is that keeping this box in full sun, even when given generous amounts of water, was not a favorite of the herbs so this spring and summer I am going to try to give it a little less direct, pounding summer sun.

Lastly and probably our biggest attempt at creating a mini urban jungle in our tight quarters is our vegetable garden. I use the term "garden" lightly. We are hoping this turns out to be a huge feat but time will tell.

I know the photo is really bad quality and I apologize for that, too lazy to use my DSLR for these shots. Anyway, we decided to go with vegetable plants that I read grew well in pots. We chose red leaf and romaine lettuce, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes and snap peas. I also recently stuck some green onions in the dirt to see if they would grow. We'll see. By the way, the romaine lettuce that is growing in our garden started out as a head of lettuce from the store. After we used to the heart, we dug a hole in the trough and stuck that sucker right in there. Within a few days (and I literally mean a few) the lettuce had started to grow! It really works, try it. Instead of throwing away that next heart, just stick it in some dirt and free lettuce until your heart is content!

Growing up surrounded by farms in the Philadelphia suburbs I've always, always wanted to grow my own food and farm. Not commercial size or anything that involves lots of livestock, but also not just your average backyard garden. I'm settling for now and this is just a small step. I know it will take some convincing to have Scott allow me to take this urban farming to the next level (I want a goat) I'm sure we won't add much more until we see how our crops yield this summer. I can't wait to share the results!

1 comment:

  1. Love the artist's perspective on choosing flowers! I will use these tips when I pick plants for my front pots... Maybe this weekend?
    ALWAYS SNIFF THE CILANTRO, lest you end up with parsley and have to provide cilantro-less salsa to your dearest friends :)
    And I also desperately want a goat. One day, when we have a bigger yard, and a dog who's less of an asshole.