Sunday, May 16, 2010

Urban Gardener Weekend Report

What a weekend! Blue skies and 70 degrees, there could not have been better weather for spring gardening.
On Saturday, Mitch and I took a walk over to Manhattan's famous Flower District. We found a great shop for everything from pots and pedestals to soil moisture testers at Jamali Floral & Garden Suppliers on W. 28th St. We picked up velcro tomato ties, Hoffman Tomato Food (this fertilizer is a must for any urban tomato grower) and a few other sundries.

Our main reason for the walk across town was the search for shrubbery. We needed a pretty plant to replace a tired tea rose and we found a brilliantly flowering Scotch Broom at Paradise Plants, also on 28th. The manager assured us that the plant would maintain its beautiful red and yellow blooms all summer, so we grabbed it for $35. A subsequent check on the Internet, however, revealed that the bush would only flower through May. So, I would not recommend shopping at Paradise (and I would recommend doing the research before making a purchase even if it means waiting another week.) Maybe we'll get lucky and get flowers through June...

Of course, the biggest attraction this weekend was planting the seedlings that have been growing on our dining table the past two months. By Sunday afternoon, the parsley, basil, peppers and cucumbers were all tucked into their pots and are now basking in the glorious sunshine. Additionally, I picked up some lettuce seedlings at the Green Market and got them into the ground too. I went for the least expensive, purchasing two packets of four starters at $2.50 each -- one red salad bowl and the other a mix. This was a great deal as there were at least 20 plants between the two packets, including an arugula. I ran out of room to place them all!

If the weather remains on the warm side we'll get some of our tomato plants out this week. They are getting gangly and need a good dose of sunshine to get thick and strong. The eggplants could go out this week too. They really like it hot and I hear 80 degree days are in the forecast.


Renee said...

Hey Valski! Your photos of you planting seedlings make we want to be there on your balcony! Here's my two cents on a couple of things you mentioned. Firstly, there really are no shrubs that will flower for the entire summer (I'm referring to the Scotch Broom). The only one that will come close is a Knockout Rose. It is blooming now in Washington DC and will continue to bloom through September. It is available in red, pink, white and occasionally yellow flowers that can be either single or double flowers. It is bred to be disease-resistant and tough, unlike other roses. Give it a try!

One thought on the leggy tomato seedlings. You can pick off most of the lower leaves, only leaving two or three leaf branches at the top, and plant the entire thing sideways below ground. That will make the seedlings strong. They will grow roots from their buried stems. I buried at least 12" of stem below ground this year, and the seedlings I put in 4 weeks ago are really going thick and strong!

urbangardener said...

Thanks Renee. This is great advice about how to plant the tomato seedlings when they get too stringy. It should help them survive the windy terrace conditions! Can't wait to see your Washington DC urban garden this weekend!