Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Weekly Update 9 - Sad Sunflower Succession Planning Edition

Hey y'all,
So this week, was full of ups and downs on the rooftop. On the upside, I have been very happy with the rate of production for just about every plant and have been amazed at how little I have had to deal with pests and disease. On the downside, since this was my first year growing sunflowers (which are my favorite kind of flower), I did not plan well for succession planning. I was imagining that the sunflowers would come in and then I would spend the rest of the growing season basking in their glory.

Dead? Hardening off?

Sadly, my sunflowers look a little sad. The reason could be that they are hardening off. I really hope that is the reason. When the sunflowers first blooms, pollinators come and do their magic, then the sunflowers look ugly for a little bit as the plant hardens off and produces seed. I really think that in my eagerness to fulfill my sunflower needs, that I planted too many flowers in too little of a space preventing the sunflowers to get big enough to enter the hardening off stage. As such, I should have cut them when they were at their prime.

I am going out of town (again, I know) for a little less than a week starting next Wednesday for a family reunion. There, I will review the flower seeds that I have and see if I can develop a succession plan to always have a sunflower blooming indoors under my growlight. When I return, if my sunflowers on the roof haven't developed their seeds, then I am going to have to pull them up and give some room to some of the other smaller flowers in the containers to grow.

To end on a high note, I have been able to get about 10 strawberries and 2 tomatoes a week from the current plants on the roof and it looks like they are all starting to produce way more, so that leaves me fat and happy. Please see more detailed updates of each container after the jump.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Weekly Update 8 - Words Have Meaning Edition

Hey y'all,

So, after missing week 6 with a well-deserved week away from farming to attend weddings, lounge on the beach, entertain friends, and generally lounge around doing a lot of nothing, I am back! I think that I needed the break to a) remember how good it feels to do absolutely nothing and fret about even less and b) gain some perspective on life. Since, I have returned, I have been spending less time grinding out the 1884879782 projects on my plate and focusing a little more on enjoying life, spending time with friends and family, and doing absolutely nothing. Hence me missing out on the Week 7 update, though those pictures will be included after the jump.

My break reminded me that with a little downtime built into my schedule I am actually more productive than grinding out 100 hour weeks and sacrificing my friends and sanity. Balance is important. I hope this lesson stays in my mind. The other benefit, is that what we put out to the universe tends to come back to us, but only if we have our eyes open to see them. While attending a fundraiser for a friend, I was able to make a contact with a woman who was looking for someone to manage her 3 acres of land upstate and create a farm to feed people in her community. EXACTLY, what I have been hoping to do for the next two years. I have my fingers crossed that there will be many updates on this venture in the future, but I'm forcing myself to only be cautiously optimist that this will work out in the end.

While I was away, I had two friends set to do some intense watering. One friend was able to do so and one friend had life intervene. As such, some of the tomatoes, all of the corn, and the squash was struggling a little upon my return. After some pruning, I'm hoping that I was not set back too far. Time will time, but I tend to be amazed by how resilient and forgiving my plants have been.

On a completely unrelated note, before my trip, I co-led a workshop on Sub-Irrigated Planters. A subject I know quite well. As I did research to create the worksheet, I was faced with a lot of evidence that the term "Self-Watering Container" is misleading. While it would be easy to be proud and continue using the "Self-Watering Container," I think that words have meanings and as such, I will use "Sub-Irrigated Planter" in the future and edit some of my DIY instructions to reflect this change.

Another area where I have re-learned that words have meaning is calling my updates "Wednesday Weekly Update" as there are times when I'm very busy on Wednesday and end up not posting later in the week. By just calling the post "Weekly Update," I can post any time in the week without feeling like a failure.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to see the pictorial update of the awesome things happening on the roof over the last three weeks.

Monti :)