I can't believe this is our 4th year container gardening on our little patio! Every year we keep a monthly log on the blog from spring through fall to document how our garden is fairing. We learn on hindsight what works and what doesn't for us, and we try and improve our methods. This year, with all the rainy weather, our garden is off to a sloooooooooow start.
We lost our peach tree over the winter, but otherwise, the berries and the orange tree are still going strong.
We have our usual carrots,
and some herbs.
I learned from past gardens that it is a pain to grow brassicas (even though I love them!), so we are sticking to swiss chard and molokhia (Egyptian spinach). The worms don't seem to bother these.
We also adjusted the number and type of tomatoes we have. In years past, we were big fans of indeterminates. Last year, we got ambitious and had 15 tomato plants growing in buckets. The patio was practically a tomato forest before the freaky hailstorm destroyed most of them! So this time around, we are growing the determinate varieties instead. They are bushier, more compact plants, and should be a better fit for the space that we have. Oh, and we only have 6 modest buckets of tomatoes. So much more manageable! Of course, we still love tomatoes. We started over 80 plants in the spring and have most of them planted out at Zach's mom's!
We aren't shying away from the peppers the way we are with the tomatoes though. This year, we have 20 pots of peppers of a dozen different varieties. We also have 4 buckets on the bottom row with eggplants. Right now, those are being devoured by flea beetles. Yuck.
We are trying cucumbers again. I have my fingers crossed that they won't be the whitefly magnets they were 2 years ago!
Apart from these plants, we also have a couple of new things we are trying out this year. We are growing potatoes in a grow sack,
a variety of wax beans in our beet box,
and 2 ground cherry plants. I love ground cherries and always spend too much on them at the farmers' market. These plants seem to be thriving and putting out a good number of fruits. My hope is that they will feed me sufficiently so I don't have to buy any at the market this year!
What about you? What do you have planted in your garden this season, and how are they fairing? We'd love to know!
This week I replaced one of the controversial works from small spaces. It was time as the previous paste up was peeling and molded.
After speaking with building owners and city officials about subject matter, what came out was an abstraction built on layers of patterns. I like the idea of fractured and and reassembled ideas and this space was ideal since it was a slatted window space. I included cropped language and a stencil of eyes that both look at and pass the viewer. The cropped language reads 'be more humane' and 'original.'
This piece is about accepting humans as layered, fractured and reassembled beings, and humanity as something that is derived from all of these parts. The call is for all people to be treated with respect and dignity no matter their place in the world. We can never know what someone is going through, but we can be empathetic to their situation. I'd like to think of my work in this vein as social abstraction. Anyone can read what they want into it but for me it's simply about being more human[e].
It's rained almost everyday for the past week or so. Zach calls it the summer "humidity storms" and reminds me that this wet, very hot, and humid weather is not unlike what I would be experiencing if I were in Singapore. I'm sure the plants in the garden love the humidity, but I also think a few of them could use some drying out.
The good thing is, the humidity storms have not hindered the berriest season of the year. We get to go out each morning and snack on ripe blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries!
Zach and I were super busy before my parents came to visit for graduation. We worked on several home improvement projects, bought ourselves our first dining table, and moved some major pieces of furniture around. One of my favorite projects that we did, was to remove the television set from the majestic bookshelf in the living room that Zach had built a couple of years ago. Zach then added more shelf space where the tv used to be so we can put out more books and artwork. This is what our shelf looks like now:
And here's what it looked like before:
It makes me smile to know that we no longer have books that have to lay on their sides!
My friend Corrinne and her 2 kids took care of our garden while we were out of town the last couple of weeks, and under their watchful care, our plants were getting big and unruly. So last week, Zach took some time to rearrange all the pots ...
This week, we made our first significant harvest of the season -- peas!
We don't usually eat peas so we're going to freeze what we have and use them the next time we make some shepherd's pie.
It was a long and winding road that led me back to the blog.
After the cat got sick and died, I couldn't bring myself to write in this space anymore. I had very much wanted to write a post about the last fifteen years I spent with my best friend, but none of my attempts felt fitting of my memories. So I decided that the best thing I could do, is grieve and reminisce in silence.
Our lives are different because we no longer have a cat. The reality of losing him is as dramatic as it sounds. After our last visit to the vet, Zach and I came home, sat at the dining table, and stared at each other. For the first time in our marriage, we were totally alone. It was then that we realized so many of our activities and so much of our conversations were about the cat. We started our day with him, and ended our nights with him. We are definitely feeling his absence. Two weeks ago, I started spotting birds and a spunky chipmunk in the garden. It felt like they knew he was gone too ...
I love our cat and I miss him to pieces. But I think I might be ready to write again.
p.s. Thank you to everybody who sent sweet and thoughtful condolences (on the blog and on Facebook). Everyone of them touched my heart.