dates in french republic//gregorian ~ started gardening september 2019 ~ USDA plant hardiness zone 10
quartidi 24 prairial year of the Republic CCXXIX//11 june 2021
i had a recent incidence of a lot of stuff wilting, at first i thought it was overwatering but based on the texture of the leaves it was underwatering... the pink sage is hanging in the balance and i'll see if it perks back up from today's water. the lovage about half wilted but considering the number of seedlings i let grow in one container, it was about time for a thinning anyway. same case for the sage if i'm being honest.
that's the only real make or break plant issue i've had, everything else is doing well! i have one tiny seedling each of yarrow, common sage and milkweed, and the milkweed looked like it wasn't coming in at all until just today, which is always a pleasant surprise.
i did let myself give up on two containers. one was sowed with verbena that sprouted some, then died and hasn't seen any more sprouting since, so i sowed it with lemon balm, which should smell nice, attract bees and make for some good iced tea! the red shiso was not coming through no matter what i did, so i planted some eggplant seeds. since it's barely summer now they might be a late summer early fall harvest if they do well. other than that, the catnip and cat grass are consistent, the tomatoes (no fruiting yet) and basils are doing great. i transferred a single snapdragon and was worried it would have some shock, but it's growing nice and big and i have some hollyhock sprouting in the same container! i also have a huge thriving dill plant that came out of nowhere from a stray seed... i think i may want to make some pickles or some fresh ranch or tzatziki or... something, i love having all these herbs on hand.
it feels like gardening is starting to bring me the joy it used to before i left for a few months last year. everything is productive and healthy enough that i can just sit outside and enjoy the plants and the weather. i think i still miss my lavender but i'm happy. hope the next update is just as good if not better.
octidi 18 floréal year of the republic CCXXIX//6 may 2021
my basil is coming in!!!!!!!! both kinds!!!!!!! tomatoes too!! and my polka dot plants are doing great indoors
i jumped the gun with what i did in the last entry... it wasn't warm enough yet for all that stuff to take. i got a few sprouts that were able to start anyway but with how little i was seeing, i also sowed a second round of seeds a couple weeks back. that's where most of the basil has been coming from, and about half the tomato plants. everything else i planted, even with the second round of sowing in warmer weather i haven't seen much progress yet, and these are the plants that all prefer drier poorer soil, so i'm worried these plants may just need more sun than i can manage up on the fire escape. i've been paying closer attention to the light and i realized that the shade of the building means that the sunlight hours for this location don't actually start until noon (actually 1PM because of daylight savings). since the days are going to be long for the next few months it should be an OK amount of light but. maybe not enough to be ideal for certain plants.
if that seems to really be the issue, i'm considering moving all those down to the cement courtyard area on the ground floor.... everyone takes their dogs and kids down there and it would be a pain to go down there to check on everything. but, i'll see how this stuff does in another week and then make adjustments if i need to. we also are likely going to be moving soon which means a whole new set of factors to consider... wish me luck lol
décadi 10 germinal year of the republic CCXXIX//29 march 2021
i emptied out my old compost bin, started a new one, mixed up all my old dry soil with the compost and distributed it all back out, so now i have tons of freshly fertilized pots ready for spring. i also replaced and beefed up my drainage rocks, this was the first time in a long time i turned out all my soil and refreshed it like this so i'm excited! i've read a couple places that you're not supposed to reuse soil but. i do not have the money or space to feel good about tossing this much and buying a whole new bag to keep out on the shared apartment building fire escape. i hope the way i chose to do it will be alright.
i tried to be very precise in my placement decisions. it's hard when space is limited but i think it will be okay! all my seeds are on hand, i'm waiting until tomorrow morning to put them all out because the bees have been very protective, i even got stung yesterday... from my understanding the reason why makes a lot of sense, a spider catching bees in its web ruined the reputation of the fire escape with the hive. odds are good that this pollinator garden can win them back over so i'm excited to see lots of progress... i will be sure to take pictures, i think it will be a beautiful friendly place for the bees. i hope it will be relaxing and pleasant for me as well... i miss the feeling i used to have before i went out of state and everything died, where the garden was a place to just sit and relax, let the cat come out, watch the bees and look at my healthy plants and feel good. here's to spring, please let me see even a fraction of this again... i really put the work in out there today and yesterday and i hope mother nature can feel it.
septidi 7 germinal year of the republic CCXXIX//27 march 2021
my seeds are here! i am dragging my feet on the planting proper but i think writing out some of what i need/want to do will help
rinse out litter bucket and poke holes in lid and bottom
tear up brown paper stockpile for new bin
add brown paper and frozen scraps to new bin
pull unsuccessful winter plants and add to new bin
aerate soul and add more drainage material if needed
toss bad compost, mix good compost in soil for spring
wow okay no wonder i haven't been in a hurry to start this. writing all this out helped a lot!
so, after doing all that i should be ready to plant! i'm going to use the rest of this entry to write out sun/soil/water/fert preferences for the seeds i'm aiming for so i can keep similar ones together and have like... regions with similar needs rather than feeling like i have to memorize the needs of every plant. streamlining...
plants grouped by general need:
full sun to part shade, feed once yearly, let dry out between waterings, mulch very lightly if at all- catnip, milkweed, yarrow, verbena, salvia and sage
full sun to light shade, keep moist and fertile (seaweed solution/dry fertilizer thru season)- lovage, basil, snapdragon, tomato, shiso
specific bits of extra special attention for some plants:
salvia/sage- water regularly until growth becomes stable then step off
tomato- water early in the morning and fertilize every 3 weeks
basil- at 6 leaves, trim back initial seedling to second leaf set, and any branches to first leaf set to ensure more leaves
shiso- pinch off anything that seems like buds so they don't go to seed and self-sow, 3 week fertilizer as well
catnip- look into quick stratifying of seeds since apparently its a months long process... what does it even do
incredible to grapple with the fact that growing plants from seed, is hard... wondering if some of my cost cutting measures would be better replaced with just. buying seedlings and shit. taking care of a plant that's already been started.... is much less difficult
sextidi 26 ventôse year of the republic CCXXIX//16 march 2021
phew ok. so. i really fell off gardening. right after the last post, i went out of state to help my family for an extended period of time. i came back in early november to a season change, weird stuff going on with my compost bin and lots of dead plants, including some of my favorites. it caused my enthusiasm for gardening to take a real hit honestly, especially coupled with how cold the weather has been ever since. i did have some plants i tried with in the meantime, a lot of greens and winter vegetables. i didn't do the best work taking care of them because again, my enthusiasm was low and i picked a lot of plants that needed sustained attention which i did not have the bandwidth to give.... the plant that's fared the best from all this is the beets, which i'm excited to harvest in a little while!
that said, we're on the cusp of spring now. i think i'm coming to terms with the fact that my ambition with respect to gardening usually outweighs my energy and the setup that i currently have. i keep trying to grow lots of vegetables and resource intensive plants in a small space with limited supplies and budget. so for the coming season i'm scaling back a bit, it feels like the natural course to take from here. i'm not equipped for a high-yield food garden, but i think i can easily manage and get a lot of enjoyment from an herb/pollinator focused garden. i'm going to restart my compost pile in a new container as well.
the seeds i'm going to be planting soon will be:
lovage, if you haven't heard of it it tastes strongly of celery
basil, purple opal + persian, purple will be my special ornamental guy but both will be eaten lol
catnip + catgrass for my little bastard man
sage, common for cooking + pink sunday to be my special ornamental and to attract pollinators
milkweed, for the butterflies and because it's native
snapdragon and yarrow which are native and so should grow easily and be good to the bees
tomatoes because i can't help myself... atomic grape + bumblebee, they're small okay!!!
i'm excited for all of this. maybe i'll post pictures??? i also have a polka dot plant doing well indoors and am thinking of getting a maidenhair fern... but good ferns typically require going to a garden store in person and a year of quarantine has given me agoraphobia 2: this time it's justified.
tridi 3 thermidor year of the republic CCXXVIII//20 july 2020
my first entry... i'll introduce my garden a bit first. i live in an apartment building in a city and garden in containers on a shared fire escape. i have a lot of plants and try to treat them the best i can despite the limited space. there's a beehive in a gap in the bricks of the apartment building and i put water out for them and try to grow plants that they can eat from, in the hopes that they will stay strong and healthy (and maybe help pollinate). i've started two compost piles in old cat litter buckets that i keep on the fire escape with them.
a tree has been growing in front of the fire escape that's cut the sunlight a bit, and it may be a jumping off point for something that eats my shoots, and even certain seeds. i've never seen them myself but it's possible that it's squirrels. still workshopping solutions for this but have started bagging developing fruit and vegetables and bringing in certain plants overnight, because that's when they do their nibbling. i had an earwig problem earlier this year because my nurturing mother's heart led me to overwater. a mix of oil traps, vaseline on the stems of susceptible plants and more restraint in watering has fixed the problem without the use of pesticides.
every time i learn something new about gardening, i feel like i still don't know anything! it feels a bit like everything grew faster when i didn't know what i was doing. but that may also be... related to the tree thing.