High Rise Farming

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Ok, maybe high rise farming is a silly title. High Rise Gardening? Urban Tomatoes? Anyway, when I was growing up my dad always grew something in the summer. He’s had always had plants and flowers, sometimes vegetables. And when I was really little, at our old house, we even had raspberries. I think those were less “gardened” and more “growing wild and out of control” (But they were so delicious!) But the most memorable crop was the year or two he grew mobile tomatoes.

My parents’ house is in a pretty wooded neighborhood with a lot of shade which doesn’t really lead to a great garden, so my dad, always thinking outside the box, grew his tomatoes in containers (pun totally intended…box…containers…get it?!). But because the sunniest place in their yard is at the end of the driveway, he put that container of tomato plants in our old little red wagon and EVERY DAY he wheeled it to he end of the driveway and EVERY EVENING, he rolled it back into the garage so no one would steal it.  That’s dedication!

We’ve lived in the city for about 7 years now and I’ve tried growing things with varying degrees of success on tiny balconies never lower than the 10th floor. Dill was a disaster (too windy for a delicate plant), marigolds always do well (hearty and strong), and climbing vines look cool entwined through the railings but they are really a pain to clean up in the fall.  But I’m pretty sure I’ve had tomatoes every year.  They always just kind of did ok. Until we discovered Earth Box.  One of the big problems we had is that being up so high, it can be pretty windy. And wind dried out the soil really quickly. But Earth Boxes have a water reservoir underneath that you fill and then the roots and soil suck up water from below as needed. They’re awesome (they have no idea I’m saying this, they just really are awesome).  There are some intense tutorials on the internet to build your own but in the end this was worth paying for.  I mean literally all the work required for this garden was to plant the baby plants and add water every other day or so. (And Aa does that so all I had to do was plant the plants and “harvest” things!) In the middle of the city we never have to deal with bugs or rabbits or weeds or any of the other things that make gardening labor intensive. It’s pretty great.

Anyway, what made me think about this is that I just harvested our first tomatoes this year!  I got an heirloom “patio” variety and they’re doing great!

 

Great advice for growing a garden in a high rise condo! via littleredwindow.com

 

 

Tomatoes - littleredwindow.com

 

 

We actually have a lot more growing and it’s looking like this will be most we’ve ever grown in a summer. (I need tomato recipes! Help!)

 

Great advice for growing a garden in a high rise condo! via littleredwindow.com

Great advice for growing a garden in a high rise condo! via littleredwindow.com

I also have tons of basil and oregano and look at this!

Bell Pepper - Little Red Window

A tiny bell pepper! Isn’t it so cute?

Unfortunately, in one of the twists you have to expect from high rise living, we just got a notice in the mail that the building is planning repair work to the balconies starting at the end of August and we are required to move EVERYTHING inside.  Think I can bribe the building manager with tomatoes and fresh basil…?

6 thoughts on “High Rise Farming

  1. I’m told they freeze great if you can’t use them right away. Just wash and freeze and use for chili this winter.

  2. You can always borrow my little red wagon to roll your plants down to the curb in front of your building every morning and roll ’em back every night–D

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