Friday, May 31, 2013

Patio Gardens Make Awesome Salads

One of the things I've been wanting to do since moving back to Michigan was have my own garden. My first apartment didn't offer any outdoor space, so I thought perhaps a window herb garden. Until I got a kitten who mercilessly chewed my two houseplants to death. 

The next apartment had a very cute, and small, outdoor patio. It was mostly shaded and taken over by some nearby flora, so my roommate at the time, Kimmy, and I never sat out there (we also lacked furniture), but rather enjoyed the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds that frequented our bird feeder. The cats also immensely enjoyed it. The next apartment we shared had a patio that was open, but there we were bombarded by an army of ducks and occasionally geese, which the cats also enjoyed. I wanted to get patio furniture at least, but I just never had the money.

That brings me to my current apartment that I share with my boyfriend Greg and our two cats. Being on the top floor this time, we have a deck, not a patio, but it's more or less the same thing when it comes to urban gardening. (Hah, "urban." They call it urban gardening because we live in an apartment. Belleville, however, is not urban. It's not even really suburban.) 

Greg works for a gardening store, so he knows a thing or two about plants. He also wanted a garden, and we set up three pots (made out of fabric; it's a modern thing (also free samples)), one with endives, spinach, dill, and parsley, another with strawberries, and the third with potatoes and garlic. My father used to give my brother and I potatoes to grow when we were kids. They often sprouted, but usually died quickly. I suspect we over-watered them. These potatoes, though, are all too happy to grow! 

We've already been able to pick strawberries twice, a modest harvest, sure, but I assure you, it was delicious. Sweet in just the way that strawberries are supposed to be. Not tart like they too often are when purchased at the grocery store. 

The spinach is more than ready to be harvested, as is the dill. The spinach especially is overshadowing the other plants. The dill is just very tall and using our railing to prop itself up. Just a few days ago, we've also added tomatoes and snack cucumbers to the mix which are also almsot ready for picking. This means that before long, I am going to have one damn tasty salad!

Patio gardens are ridiculously easy to put together and maintain. (Even easier if you have a boyfriend who takes care of it for you.) Anyone who lives in an apartment should try one. You can enjoy the beauty and bounty of the outdoors without paying the extra for a house and yard. Even if you do have a house and yard, patio gardening still makes sense because of how low maintenance it is. And maybe you don't have a big yard.

I'll have to post again when I assemble my salad. I think the spinach needs to be harvested today with the way its growing. I can't wait!

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