Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Berry good year

Our urban garden is about to get a new crop! Yesterday we ordered two blueberry bushes from Miller Nurseries. We were inspired to add the berries to our fresh produce list that already includes tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and herbs) by our neighbors Charles and Michele S. We saw their two beautiful berry bushes on a visit to their terrace garden last summer and realized you don't have to hike the upstate blueberry trail (or hike to the Amish market) to get your daily dose of antioxidants.
Doing some berry research, we learned that blueberry bushes need company to pollinate, so two will produce far more berries than one lonely bush. We bought Polaris and Chippewa varieties, which are considered "half high" and are appropriate for growing in pots. Each was only about $10. We also needed some supplies. We ordered soil acidifier (basically fertilizer)because blueberries grow best in an acidic environment. A 2.5 lb bag was $10. We still need a digital PH thermometer to make sure we maintain the correct balance in the soil. Miller was sold out, so we are looking for one on Ebay. They are also available at any garden supply shop.
The only drawback is we'll have to wait a year for a meaningful harvest. Miller told us the first year's yield will be slim pickins. But the pair of plants will look nice all summer and will be especially pretty in autumn when the leaves turn bright red. And summer 2011 will be a berry good year...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's heeeeeeeeere

Spring came in with a bang, with 70 degree temperatures and plenty of sunshine. For the first time since the construction of 2008, I was able to sit outside and enjoy breakfast on my terrace--a real treat for the first day of spring. Already, the Hyacinth bulbs are peeking up and my Hydrangea is sprouting green. I spent much of the day weeding the pots and window boxes, just cause I could! On Friday night, Mitch and I picked out our 2010 tomato crop from our favorite site, Tomato Fest, which offers an encyclopedic variety of organic heirloom seeds. We ordered six packettes, including our usual Brandywine and Cherokee Purple, as well as a few newbies, like Black Cherry and Aunt Ruby's Yellow. Hopefully, we'll be starting our seedlings next weekend, and planting them in our pots by Memorial Day!