July 18, 2011

Hops grown for Bellwoods Brewery as part of their City Hops Project. The plants were healthy until last week, and then over a period of a few days they were infested with green aphids AND cucumber beetles. I used Ed Lawrence's anti-everything spray to treat them. It's one part dish soap, two parts neem oil and 40 parts water. Step one - physically remove the bugs by spraying the vines with the hose (satisfying!) 2. mix the soap, neem and water in the water bottle and shake hard to emulsify. 3. spray on vines, top and bottom of leaves, and let sit for 10 minutes (some sat for twenty and seemed just fine). 4 rinse off with hose. All of this was done early in the morning to prevent the soap, sun and oil from combining into a plant scorching slurry. It's been a week and a half and the vines are still bug free.

Okra transplants that we are raising in the ice cream buckets never got as large as predicted, but they have started producing anyway!

Lazy Housewife pole beans started to produce these tiny beans at the start of July, and now they are going strong.
Climbing beans love the bins (not all plants do), they are thriving in this freakish heat wave, and so sweet!

July 12, 2011

forty degrees in the shade

Forty degrees in the shade.

July 6, 2011

THE PLANTS WATER THEMSELVES!...kinda/Election signs, not just for sledding anymore.

Last summer the rooftop hit 42 degrees C, and the sub-irrigated bins were the reason most (most!) of the plants made it through those extreme conditions.

The Rooftop Garden Project in Montreal is responsible for designing and providing our bins.
You can make your own from a recycling bin, a 1" PVC pipe, and an election sign for the false bottom/reservoir.

Go to http://rooftopgardens.ca/en/kits to find out more about the Rooftop Garden Project, how to build your own bins, and other examples of urban agriculture in Montreal.

July 1, 2011

the return of the mushrooms!

Our soil was inoculated with Mycelial culture to facilitate nutrient and water uptake in the plants. Sometimes when you use this type of culture the fruiting body of the mycelium (mushrooms!) rear their heads. No idea what this variety is.

For more mushroom education go to the website of Paul Stamets, a mushroom expert who claims to have cured his stutter at age 16 by ingesting a massive dose of Psilocybes (magic mushrooms) and then spending the night clinging to the top of a 100-foot redwood during an electrical storm.

Stamets is a leading expert of treatment of contaminated soil with mushrooms. His work is hopeful and hilarious stuff, and you can learn to grow your own.

and, here's his very attractive wife Dusty with some mushroom kits. awesome. http://www.fungiperfecti.com/kits/index.html

The return of the beans in ice cream buckets!

Buckets salvaged from outside Film Buff on Roncesvalles. Best free, food-grade container score in the downtown. They leave the empty (sticky) buckets and lids out almost every night. I use them at home to store dry goods, as planters and as trash cans.

In the mint bin!

What it would be like to sit in the mint bin - North side of the roof, facing south and Queen street.

Icicle and Cherry Belle radishes

Red Deer Tongue Lettuce in the top left corner - Matty had a visiting Chef up top, and he said Portlander's call this variety Deers Blood.

Watering the Cuban Mojito transplants. This variety is the only true Mojito mint, and Richters brought it in from Cuba in 2006. Their website doesn't mention how they pulled that off. It has a mild warm scent, compared to the sweet, pungent notes of typical spearmints, so It won't overpower the high notes in your booze.
Five small transplants took over a large grain bag with their rhizome (creeping) root systems, so planting them in containers is in your, and your garden's best interest. The mint has been in your Parts and Labour Bar cocktails since the Spring of 2011. Please come taste the variety that was in the Ernest Hemingway's favorite drink.

Hops up top

Three varieties of hops, two of each, planted in collaboration with soon to be opening Bellwoods Brewery - The six little bro's from the Cannabaceae family, grown from Rhizomes, have shot past their predicted first year length of 8-10 feet and it's only July.