Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Green Thumb of Death

What's the opposite of a green thumb? Death thumb? Black thumb? Anti-life thumb?

As with children, I've never been good with plants. I don't understand them and they seem to despise me. Outside of the water and sunshine requirements, my plants seem to be exceptionally needy and always on a hunger strike. Or maybe they have eating disorders from being around too many cyclists? I should give the Cytomax and sprinkle their soil with some Probar crumbles, since Molly Cameron seems to be all over that stuff. And she's pretty fast.

I planted a small back porch garden last summer. Living in the city, I have minimal access to sunlight and I learned that my north-facing balcony doesn't get enough sun for tomatoes, broccoli and other leafy plants. The plastic pot my spinach was in overheated and fried that crop, so I'll have to switch to clay if I try those again. But root vegetables did very well and I even shifted my onion and garlic plants indoor for the winter. Currently, they are setting a streak for "most days living."

But what I'm really growing this spring are drugs. A couple of weeks ago I heard a radio interview with James Wong, an ethnobotanist. Wong has both put out a short BBC TV series and now a book about turning your garden into a medicine cabinet. But the best part?
''Most herb species live in poor environments with low water and low fertiliser..."
It's the perfect garden for a person like me if the herbs thrive under an ill-educated and harsh gardening regime!

Other links that have been helpful:

Life on the Balcony - a perfect starting point and reference

Inhabitant has a good starter's guide to urban gardening as well (with lots of pictures!)

And of course, before you even get started check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map and USDA Plant Hardiness Indicators. This will give you an idea of what you can plant.

This rosemary plant tried to die but I've coaxed it back from the edge

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