Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rooftop Gardening is Closed for Winter

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Vegetable Garden 2011

It's been a few weeks since I've checked the garden so last weekend I stepped back onto the roof to see what vegetables did and didn't work as fall rooftop crops.

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Vegetable Garden 2011

The root vegetables were 50-50. I planted turnips, radishes, carrots and beets. All of the carrots were eaten by birds. I don't have a photo of it, but one planter had very clear bird tracks in the soil. I gave up on carrots and planted some more radishes instead.

The beets were devoured by birds as well. One seedling survived, but it was a weak one that never developed a large taproot. Next year I'll try growing beets and carrots again with netting in place.

In contrast, the turnips and radishes did well. Not sweet enough for the birds perhaps?

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Vegetable Garden Harvest 2011

The leaves were rather wind battered, but the taproots turned out fine.

The soybeans unfortunately did not do well on the roof. I planted 2 containers of soybeans. One with a wind collar and one without to see if their would be a noticeable difference in plant performance. The soybean plants shielded by the wind collar looked much healthier than the unprotected plants, but they never produced any pods.

The soybean plants that did not have a wind collar did produce pods, but they looked so weather battered and diseased that I didn't want to eat them. Which is a shame, since these were the vegetables I was most looking forward to harvesting.

I'm still determined to eat some home grown edamame though so I'm going to try to grow some indoors this winter.

So that's it for the roof this year. Everything has been put away for winter, even the table and chairs.

Radishes: 3.8 ounces

Turnips: 4.3 ounces

This Harvest: 8.1 ounces

The radishes and turnips are the last crops to be harvested this year so below are the 2011 totals.

Beets (Detroit Dark Red): 7.0 ounces

Cherry Tomato (Sungold): 5 pounds, 12 ounces

Cucumber (Lemon): 4 pounds, 11.4 ounces

Eggplants (Fairy Tale): 6 pounds, 5.4 ounces

Melon (Tasty Bites): 9 pounds, 2.2 ounces

Pepper (Atris): 7 pounds, 0.1 ounces

Pepper (King Crimson): 1 pound, 15.6 ounces

Radishes (Cherry Belle, French Breakfast, Sparkler Top): 6.3 ounces

Tomato (Valencia): 6 pounds, 13.2 ounces

Tomato (Yellow Perfection): 10 pounds, 8.9 ounces

Turnip (Purple Top White Globe): 4.3 ounces

Total Vegetable Harvest 2011: 53 pounds, 11 ounces

Even with the addition of several new containers I still grew 10 pounds less than last year! What makes it even sadder is that the vegetable that produced the most fruit, the Yellow Perfection tomato, is the one I liked the least. It's quite the blow to my gardening ego! Heh, just kidding. The weather was crazy this year, and since I can't control the weather it's pointless for me beat myself up over it. I think the extreme heat really affected plant pollination rates, and low pollination means low fruit production.

If I had to do it over again the only thing I would change is my choice in tomato seeds. I grew 5 tomato plants this year. 1 Sun Gold cherry, 2 Yellow Perfection and 2 Valencia. Both the Yellow Perfection and Valencia are heirloom varieties, hindsight tells me I should have spread my risk and grown at least one hybrid variety to ensure greater fruit production. Lesson learned.

No Thursday post next week, I'll be switching to a bi-weekly schedule until spring, possibly less if I have nothing to write about. Reading round ups will continue on their weekly schedule. I'll be giving away this year's seeds in the upcoming Thursday post so stay tuned!

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