Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taking the Good With the Bad

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Container Vegetable Garden 2011

Some of the Tasty Bites melons are forming that distinctive cantaloupe netting. I cannot wait for these to be ready!

The Yellow Perfection tomato plants are producing lots of golf ball sized fruit. The plants are prolific and grow well in a rooftop environment, so I wish I could add this variety to the greatest hits list, but unfortunately the fruits are not that flavorful, so they don't make the cut. The fruits are good, certainly better than anything that's been trucked to your local supermarket, but they don't have that wow factor. If you like mild tasting tomatoes, however, this would be a good choice to grow.

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Container Vegetable Garden 2011

The Sungolds are still awesome though. I gave several seedlings away earlier this year. To those who got them how are the plants doing? Have you tasted the cherries yet? What do you think of their flavor?

King Crimson peppers turning red.

Some of the Atris peppers are also turning red. I first noticed the change on Friday the 15th, so according to the seed description they should be completely red in 7days, Friday the 22nd. Fingers crossed!

The next few days are supposed to be crazy hot, close to 100 degrees, and I'm sure hotter on the roof. I wonder if that will accelerate or slow down the process. We shall see.

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Container Vegetable Garden 2011

The Lemon cucumber plant is hanging on despite the powdery mildew. The leaves are yellow though, so who knows how long it will last.

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Container Vegetable Garden 2011

The Valencia tomatoes have finally started changing color. Right now I've harvested just one fruit, but more should be ready in a few days. The first tomato off a plant is usually mushy and blah in flavor, so I was pleasantly surprised by how firm and flavorful this fruit was. This means the next ones should be even better!

Since the fruits are so tasty I would love to grow this seed again, but unfortunately I don't think this particular plant likes it on the roof. In mid June I noticed the bottom leaves were curling. Once I read about what causes leaf curl I realized the problem was never going to go away.
Tomato leaves curl naturally if it's too dry, too hot, too humid or too windy. In other words, the leaves will tend to curl if growing conditions are not optimum for the plant.
When I read the above passage I laughed and shook my head. The roof is too dry, too hot & too windy all the time. I resigned myself to stressed plants and waited for pests to descend and/or for disease to kick in.

Lucky me I got both! First it was aphids, now it's disease. I'm not sure what disease has hit the plants, I haven't spent much time examining the leaves. If I figure it out I'll let you know.

On a brighter note the Fairy Tale eggplants are doing fine and continue to churn out fruit.

July 14-July 20:

Cherry Tomato (Sungold): 12.8 ounces

Cucumber (Lemon): 1 pound, 2.3 ounces

Eggplant (Fairy Tale): 9.9 ounces

Tomato (Valencia): 4.2 ounces

Tomato (Yellow Perfection): 1 pound, 8.3 ounces

This Harvest: 4 pounds, 5.5 ounces

Running Weight Total 2011: 9 pounds, 7 ounces

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  1. I'm also growing tomatoes in buckets on a roof, and have had curling leaves and yellowing leaves like yours. I found the yellowing wasn't disease, but potasium deficiency. (thanks to Seattle Tilth) A little fertilizer may do the trick. This is my first go at roof top gardening, and other than tomato problems, things have gone pretty well considering what a non summer we're having in the NW.

  2. Hi Match, welcome to the world of rooftop gardening, I hope everything grows really well for you. It's raging hot in NYC right now so if you could send us some of that none summer weather we'd be incredibly glad.

  3. Thanks for your awesome rooftop blog, I've found some very helpful hints!

  4. I was one of the lucky people who received one of your sun gold seedlings! This plant is out of control happy and productive!!! I'd run out of wine barrels at the time and so I planted your sun gold in an old 5-gallon pickle bucket with several 3/4" holes drilled in the bottom.

    It got a good mix of compost and potting mix and it has been climbing higher and higher, outside of its cage and up the iron bars outside of our bedroom window - instant support!

    It is currently over 7' tall - no joke - and we've been collecting cherries from it for well over a week. Every day we get a handful, and it seems this thing is just going to keep on producing - there are flowers all the way at the top branches! Good thing my husband and I are both really tall. At some point we'll have to open the screen and pick them from inside the house - ha.

    They are incredibly sweet and delicious - our favorites so far. We've been eating some small yellow pear tomatoes and some quarter-sized Principe Borghese red tomatoes - all are good, but the sun golds are the best in my book. I brought a handful of mixed tomatoes in for my co-workers and they all voted for the sun golds too. You can bet I'll be trying to keep seeds from this one!

    Can't thank you enough for gifting us with this awesome tomato!!

    Good luck with the heat up there today.

  5. Hi Aimee, aren't the Sungolds terrific? They would make a great gateway plant to vegetable gardening.

    Regarding the weather, I know right? 100 degrees! What the heck is going on? The plants survived yesterday, I hope they surive today.


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