Alright, back in business! Sorry for the delayed return, real life has been keeping me busy so I'm only just now fitting in gardening/blogging time. I've been doing mini-updates on the Bucolic Bushwick Facebook page, but mostly just quick snapshots, full length updates will always be exclusively for this site. So, without further ado, the 2014 seed selections:
Cherry Tomato: Sunsugar F1
Eggplant: Orient Express F1
Melon: Lil Keeper F1
Potato: Yukon Gold
Strawberry: Ozark Beauty
Sweet Corn: Sugar Buns F1
Sweet Pepper: Giant Aconcagua [2nd Generation Rooftop Seeds]
Sweet Pepper: Orange Blaze F1
Tomato: Beaverlodge [1st Generation Rooftop Seeds]
Tomato: Bush Goliath F1
Tomato: Pink Berkeley Tie Dye
Watermelon: Little Baby Flower F1
Possible late summer crop:
Possible indoor crop:
Tomato: Micro Tom F1
Various salad greens
I say possible because I might run out of gardening steam by the time the summer crops expire and just want to prep the containers for storage and focus on other projects. We'll see the how the year plays out.
Pepper and eggplant seeds were started last weekend, tomato seeds will be started sometime this week, melon seeds late next week and corn will be direct sowed in early May, when overnight temps are firmly in the 50's. Eggplant has returned to the list after a year on break. I considered adding an entirely new plant to my growing roster, I was leaning toward blueberries, but ultimately decided I need to grow last year's additions, corn and potatoes, successfully before I can try something new.
One major change I've decided on in terms of seed selection is to no longer grow indeterminate tomatoes, just determinate or compact indeterminate from now on. The one exception will be cherry tomatoes. I was looking at prior years growing records and noticed a significant trend.
Bucolic Bushwick Top Tomato Producers:
- Determinate Tomato Beaver Lodge, 2013: 15 pounds, 0.625 ounces (1 plant grown)
- Indeterminate Tomato Yellow Perfection, 2011: 10 pounds, 8.9 ounces (1 plant grown)
- Determinate Tomato Celebrity F1, 2009: 8 pounds, 6.6 ounces/per plant (2 plants grown)
- Determinate Tomato Orange Blossom F1 2010: 8 pounds, 4.3 ounces/per plant (2 plants grown)
75% of the top producers were determinate tomatoes! What's more, looking through the photos reveals that even though the Beaverlodge tomato plant had the most compact growth habit of all the top producers, it was -the- most prolific tomato plant I have ever grown. I think that's very interesting and something I should remember every time I have to shop for seeds.
I haven't done that much prep on the roof, but I have done some stuff indoors while waiting for the weather to warm up. I made 8 new self watering containers to replace the current ones on the roof. They're all the same size, 18 gallons, which I've realized is the largest size tote I can comfortably move around by myself when it's at maximum capacity (mature plant + full water reservoir). Anything larger and it stays put for rest of season unless I get a friend to help move it. Getting a friend to help is easy, but I'm shooting for self sufficiency here so outside help defeats that purpose.
My original 2 tote design was a foundation for these containers, but I've made enough alterations to the original design to warrant a new post dedicated to them. That post is here: DIY Self Watering Container and Greenhouse from 2 Storage Totes: Ultimate Edition.
Over time I've steadily collected a mishmash of containers on the roof that grew to be quite the hassle to water every day. I looked through last year's photos and counted the pots, 30! For me, this is at least 10 containers too many. I want to reduce the garden chores and increase the garden enjoyment so I'm going to downsize the mishmash. Most of the smaller containers, the 12" diameter pots, will go. I'll hold onto a few to grow strawberries.
Now that all the food growing containers will be a uniform size I can easily rotate crops. This isn't something I could do before with the mishmash. Before, the garden had a limited amount of large totes that had water reservoirs large enough to support tomato plants. As a result, I was using the same container year after year to grow the same crop, which is a really good way to pass on disease from one growing season to the next. Now that I can rotate crops I hope to reduce this annual disease transmission.
I did most of my garden spending for the year early, mostly during the utterly dismal winter when I was yearning for spring haha. Hopefully, I've covered everything and won't have to spend much more.
Seeds (from johnnyseeds.com, totallytomato.com & Home Depot): $51.18
Fertilizer (from totallytomato.com, their fertilizer prices are very competitive, often beating amazon): $42.80
Reed fence replacement, for plants with climbing vines: $26.10
18 gallon totes, 16 units (8 clear, 8 opaque): $79.64
Spray paint for plastic, 8 cans: $45.25
Misc (rubber replacement garden hose washers, nitrile garden gloves & all weather duct tape): $19.97
2014 Running Cost Total: $264.94
Visit bucolicbushwick.com to read more about rooftop vegetable gardening.