Sunday, May 2, 2010

Harvest & Hope

First harvest of the year was a small batch of french breakfast radishes that we tossed in our dinner salad. Radishes are an excellent "placeholder" as they take roughly a month from seed to harvest.

Busied myself this morning by direct sowing squash and bush beans, and transplanting strawberries, tomatoes, basil, peppers into the EBs. Had followed the Seed-Starters Handbook timing guidelines for the seed-starts and found them way too early for someone in an apartment with limited space and no dedicated grow setup to ensure sufficient light for them (though my guessing on a 4/15 frost-free date in NYC was also a factor). I started them all in six-pack cells and then moved the tomatoes and peppers to bottle SIPs. Tomatoes & peppers are "leggy," while the strawberries and basil seem hardy but stopped growing about a month ago; I put them all in anyway and we'll see what happens.

A Stokes Farm rosemary plant found its way into our Ikea planter.

Other things going on - chives are sending up blossoms, cilantro is up, lettuce is up, mache is up, blueberries are forming, lavender is sending up flower stalks, chinese fringe tree getting ready to flower, zinnias, marigolds, calendula are up, and the Silver Heights Farm lettuce & puntarella seem happy in their EB spaces.


bookenbryan said...

Hello Chris,
I noticed you sometimes use the white EB cover side, sometimes the black. How do you decide? I have numerous pots on my roof here in Prospect Heights, and this year I got 3 EBs. My roof is black (looks similar to yours) and thus can get really hot. However it still looks like there are going to be some pretty cold nights this spring. Cannot decide which way to go.


Chris said...

Hi Bryan - last year when I put the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in EBs located in the space with full sun, I had the black side up and noted the soil felt really warm. Out of curiosity I stuck a kitchen probe thermometer in and it was about 100 degrees! My rule of thumb going forward is black side up if I think what's in the EB will have adequate foliage to mostly shield the cover from the sun when it gets blazing hot...otherwise, if it's already blazing hot - as a Brooklyn rooftop can get - I'll use the white if I'm putting something new in/direct sowing. Hope this helps and good luck this year! Drop me a comment every now and then and let me know how things are going for you. - Chris

bookenbryan said...

Thanks for the info Chris. Appreciate it.

Also - looks like you are using saran wrap for wind? I have had to do that also for some containers but I thought I could get away with it for the EB's if I put them near a wall. However this last week has been REALLY windy so I definitely need to do something. I'm mainly concerned for my new tomatoes and peppers. I grew some early girl's from seed and it is killer to watch the wind tear them apart.
For the EB's with saran wrap, how high do you go? Do you just do it when the plant is young, or the whole season? Did you put supports for the saran wrap in the EB's soil, or did you build something around it?

Sorry for all the questions. Just saw your site for the first time yesterday and it looks like we are in very similar situations.


Chris said...

I just use one width of the roll and go twice around the supports. The supports are part of a mini structure I've built based on something I saw on one of the Chicago roof grower blogs (I'll try to remember to detail in a future post). I keep the wrap on until the plants are established or being crowded by the wrap. It's a pretty janky setup but it seems to work. One day if I feel motivated I'll see if I can work on the aesthetics.

I feel your pain on the wind; it has definitely been the biggest challenge. I have to check my photos and records, but I don't think I did the wrap thing on my tomato last year, though it may have gone in later. My plants (green zebra, sun gold, black prince) have gotten pretty ripped up in the past week so it may be on to plan B (some plants still languishing in cell packs) or plan C (Silver Hts Farm).

meemsnyc said...

Those are nice looking radishes. We'll have to try another variety of radishes next year. We like growing them. When we lived in Greenpoint Brooklyn we had a tomato plant on our fire escape and it would get so hot out there, the plant only produced 1 fruit. Does your plants get sun scald?

Chris said...

Radishes are super easy to keep happy, which is a plus in my book. We've had good luck with both french breakfast and watermelon radishes.

I haven't had issues with sun scald on the "tomato balcony." It gets sun pretty much from morning straight to early evening. Maybe the fire escape created a lot of radiant heat that cooked the plants? Again, issues of "microclimate" - I think the biggest challenge at our space are the little wind pockets, maybe not so much temperature...even though our roof EBs sit on a black tarpaper top.