09 April 2013


To Be . . . Harvested?

This post may not be about books, but it is another challenge I am doing in the spirit of my TBR Promise and because of my commitment to close as many things as I can this year. You may remember that my bookcase does not just hold books to be read, but also some seeds to be planted.

I blame Sheila. =P It is frankly irresponsible to encourage people to start gardening by comparing it to gambling. They might, you know, plant seeds or something. Especially if you tell them that all the geography they need is a south-facing window.

What I have is a south-facing "ledge," pictured here at around 11:00 am--and snapped at that crazy angle for a reason.

I wanted to show off not just how much sun it gets but also how high up my family's apartment is. The bottom of the picture shows the waist-high rail on the inner wall, which keeps us from stepping too close to the outer wall. The very rail I had to climb over when my attempts to set my rectangular "pot" on the floor of the "ledge" resulted in half the soil spilling out of it.

Apparently, I can resist the crowded gaming tables and the noisy slot machines, but turn into a dopamine junkie when it comes to taking risks for seeds.

The second picture was taken around 1:30 pm. The soil looks that way because it's really hard to water gently and evenly when all you have a coffee mug and you are once more jackknifed over the rail. I soon figured out that I had to fill several coffee mugs at one time, set them on the table next to the inner wall, climb over the wall again, and stand in the ledge to water the soil.

In case you wondering, Stilwell, it's the New Zealand spinach. I didn't do my research until after I had done the work (So typical . . .), so I wasn't able to soak the seeds overnight to speed up germination. Oh, yeah, and the soil spilling out and having to be scooped back into the "pot" probably means that the seeds aren't as close to the surface as one would hope.

It has occurred to me--belatedly, once more--that it might have been better first to plant the seeds in an old egg carton and then to transplant any little seedlings into a bigger pot.

So I'll try that with my next lottery tickets, the flat leaf parsley and the catnip. =P (Can humans eat catnip, Stilwell?)

But first I'll need to get some crates so that my little garden can sit a bit higher on the ledge than that.


Belfry Bat said...

Those of us who don't want you falling several storeys for a story about seeds think you should arrange for something like a hose.

Paul Stilwell said...

I can feel the heat of that porch. I would be tempted to put a potted fig tree out there.

New Zealand spinach is so erratic and slow to germinate, as you probably read, but once you have some green it should be continual harvest...and then later...will be time for a bigger pot! Maybe some kind of prop on the floor of the porch would prove useful in keeping pots closer to the window ledge...

Most certainly, catnip is good for you! Makes a good tea as well.

Enbrethiliel said...


Bat -- I wonder whether a watering can would be enough of an amplifier for my arm.

Stilwell -- The terrace has the soul of a greenhouse! There's actually a larger area behind the ledge that is begging for more fauna.

I've actually been thinking of a potted calamansi tree. Figs would be nice, but I don't know where to get a tree or seeds; and apparently, all the seeds that one can get from food products are all one sex and cannot fertilise or be fertilised by each other.

There is already a small box underneath that pot, which has elevated it about one foot. Never mind how I got it out there. =P

Sheila said...

Yay! You took my dare!

You can rig a watering can from a juice or milk carton. Poke a bunch of holes in the lid and it can be your "spout." Or experiment with whatever you have to hand. I always consider it bonus points if I can hack supplies instead of having to buy stuff!

Plant the parsley directly in the pot you want it to stay in. Turns out it forms a big taproot and won't thrive if you try to transplant it. I tried to bring mine in for the winter and it died.

Egg cartons are okay if you just barely want to sprout something and want to transplant when they're tiny, but in a matter of weeks the roots outgrow the space and start attempting to grow through the cardboard. I did this of course. Yogurt cups with holes punched in the bottom are better.

Belfry Bat said...

Of course, the architectural ergonomics and engineering question of the moment is: given that they've decided to build in those ugly railings anyways, why are they behind the lovely sunny space instead of around it? Those tiny balconies add up (I'm willing bet some embarassment that summed over the whole building, they could have made at least another unit with the materials) so they might as well have been useful, too.

Enbrethiliel said...


Sheila -- We have tiny yogurt cups at home (enough for 125 grams--only slightly bigger than egg cups in a carton), but I assume you mean the bigger tubs. =) I'll see if I can convince the rest of the family to stop buying "singles" for a while!

Bat -- I'm not sure! We actually have only an outer wall on the west side of the same terrace. There's a similar layout for two of the bedrooms, which are side by side: one of them has the same sort of "ledge," where I have put pots before (those unfortunate basil seedlings, if you must know); and the other goes all the way out. The building next to us has a similar design, which is why some families use their ledges for storage when they run out of space indoors. (LOL!)

The other building has these mini-balconies wrapped around every floor, so I'm guessing that the architect put them in for safety: if you fall out, you at least don't fall down. But my own building is so inconsistent that I can't begin to guess the rationale. (Well, okay, my first guess was that it was to hide some pipes--or to keep them separate from the "people side" of the terrace. But there are pipes on the other side, too.)