May 17 2011
My Third Try
Last year, I grew several herbs from seed. Two out of three plants sprouted up, including an especially healthy mint plant. Unfortunately, the mint started thriving at exactly at the same time that last year's intense summer heat arrived. This heat was literally magnified through our 50 + year old windows, and the two plants fried. I decided to try again and bought healthy looking thyme and basil plants from Emmerich Greenhouses.
I switched the plants to clay pots and positioned them on a different windowsill, where I hoped they'd receive less harsh light. I babied them for a month but the end result was the same: charred and fried. At that point, I gave up and resorted to buying herbs as I needed them. Buying packets of herbs is frustrating because it's so wasteful: I hate that I have to buy an entire case of thyme when I only need a few sprigs.
We're on the top floor of our current apartment and our kitchen window leads directly to a fire escape. It's time to try again! I have seed packets of arugula and basil from the Hudson Valley Seed Library; on our recent trip to Massachusetts, I bought Oregano and Sage seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds.
Beyond the bonus of actual outdoor space (and modern windows!), I feel more prepared this year. I recently discovered a store tailor made for fellow aspiring urban gardeners called Fire Escape Farms. Based out of San Francisco, it's stocked with functional, environmentally friendly, and beautifully designed gardening supplies for small spaces. For the past week, I've browsed their selection, planning my mini fire escape garden in my head.
I'm going to start my seeds using their seed starter kit and then transfer the plants to the ecoform bowls pictured above.
I've wanted Pigeon Toe Ceramic's porcelain garden stakes for months, but couldn't bring myself to buy them until I actually had seeds and a plan! I now have both, so I'll be picking those up as well. Fire Escape Farms doesn't sell Pigeon Toe's stakes, but they do sell several other attractive options, for those who want to get all of their gardening goods from one spot. If all things "grow" well, I wonder if my fire escape has room for this small Food Map Container?
If not, I'm considering making my own self watering container, using the tutorial over on Urban Organic Gardener and graduating to growing lettuces, beets, and even potatoes.