Sun’s out! Temperature’s rising! I’m a wreck!
Hipster-esque Instagram photos from Brooklyn in 3…2…1…
It is definitely spring. The sleepless nights of coughing and sneezing, my bedroom temperature hovering around 85 degrees - both signs that it’s time to start planting! As any seasoned urban (or non-urban) gardener knows, planning while it’s still cool out is essential for a successful garden.
I consulted Cornell’s frost map to see when the estimated last frost in the city would be and then worked backwards to prepare to plant for mid to late April:
Great. This gave us about 3-5 weekends to remove all of the old cracked, plastic planters, remove all of the bad potting soil that was infected by one rogue mint bush, and sweep up all of the old dead branches and leaves.
We also needed to remove the old compost (that didn’t quite compost), buy new flowers and prepare the soil in the large planter for vegetables. Thankfully, Dominique offered her services one of the weekends and helped to chuck the soil.
Why the plastic bags? I know it may seem sacrilegious to some people (many apologies about the plastic - the mild winter resulted in one too many potato sack races and we ran out of local, organic, conflict free, burlap sacks) but the plastic was the best way to transport 5 large planters filled with packed, damp soil. The Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market is only a few blocks away and they accept old food, soil and leaves as long as it’s bagged:
I quickly commandeered our neighbors laundry cart and shoved as many potting soil packed plastic bags into it. I moved as quickly as possible up to the park to drop off the bags and returned the cart before they could notice. I had to make the trips over three weekends, mostly because I’m lazy, partly because it’s too hard to push the cart up the hill. The last two weekends I used their busted-ass red Little Tikes wagon:
I got the occasional nod and smile from locavores as I made my way through the market. ”Red wagon? That’s weird. Oh, wait - he’s got soil AND he’s moving towards the compost. Oh man, that’s sweet”. I’m assuming this is what went through the Park Slopian minds as I dodged babies the size of dogs and dogs the size of babies (both in strollers). I dropped off my brown gold (or dropping the kids off at school…hehe) and fought my way through the crowd to get the F out of there. Unfortunately for me, my 80’s inspired porn star sunglasses, 5 o’clock shadow and sweat stained baseball cap made me look like a big ole pedo-bear. Had I brought along a pack of puppies and candy, the look would have been complete. I was the pied piper of creepy, dodging parents evil side eyes from all around so I bolted out of there.
A drastic haircut and many shaves later, the garden began to take place. The weather (notwithstanding the past two days chilly rain) has been unseasonably warm so I picked up basil, parsley and mint. I also bought enough flowers for all of the hanging pots on the fence plus a new wooden planter.
Luckily we didn’t plant any veggies, partially because of a nasty hangover on Saturday but mostly because Dom wasn’t around to help curate the planting collection for Summer 2012. This week won’t have any plantings (home for the weekend) but hopefully the next weekend we will get started! Until then, some photos of what’s put together so far:
Night shot, one week later: