Goodbye garden

It's pretty chilly today, 41°, and tonight's predicted lows are below freezing. So I spent the afternoon picking the last of my tomatoes (10!) and looking over recipes from September's Martha Stewart Living for green tomatoes. I cut down the plant, brought my rosemary and lavender indoors, and moved the holly and boxwood onto the windowsill, where it will remain through the winter. The fire escape garden has moved into its winter cycle, which makes me a bit sad because I miss my flowers and herbs and the joy of growing my own tomatoes. But I'm also excited and expectant, looking forward to seeing berries on my holly, and watching the snow build up on the railings in another month or two. Hello garden, phase two.

Garden woes

So for the most part, things are going along swimmingly (or should that be sunningly?) in my garden. The tomatoes are ripening, one is even now orangish! My basil is growing like mad, and following the instructions in the wonderful McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container, I've cut the flowering plants back so that only four leaves remain on the stem (thereby creating a "basil factory" as they say, because now it will start growing again). With all the basil, I've been making pistou, a sort of French pesto without nuts, which freezes really well and tastes delicious on the grilled pizzas I've been making (recipes soon). So yes, things are going well. Except something's eating my climbers! 🙁

I came home a few days ago to find a bunch of my morning glories all wilted and fearing I'd failed to water appropriately, dashed out my window with my watering can in hand. Upon inspection though, I realized they'd been bitten off at the base. By a bird? A squirrel? Also the top of one was bitten off as well, so I lost two morning glories and one cypress vine and maybe the top-bitten-off one will cease to grow too. Does anyone have any idea what could have done this? And how to protect my garden from future attacks? I fear for my luscious tomatoes! And all my other lovely plants.

Rainy garden view

fire escape garden

Using my new .5x wide-angle lens, I took a picture of my fire escape garden for those that are interested in seeing it. It contains a lot of pots of dirt still. In the foreground you can see my petunia blend (midnight, orchid, and lilac). To the right of the windowbox, you can see the basil. Hang in there basil, the sun will come some day! At the end of the basil, there are chive seeds. No sign of chives yet. Beyond that you can see my tomato plant, which has flowers! No sign of tomatoes yet. And next to it, that long box of soil contains my climbers: a mix of pink, red, and white cypress vine and a mix of azure blue, pink, white, and rose morning glory. If all goes according to plan, the climbers will grow up along the railing of the fire escape and treat me to a bounty of blossoms, "from mid-summer until the first frost." If they actually grow, I'll be amazed. Cross your fingers!

Litter Pearls

If you own a cat and do one new thing this year, let it be this: switch to crystal litter pearl cat litter (the link is to one brand, there are several). It's so amazingly good. First, there is no smell. Honest to God, no smell. Ever. Smell is gone. Second, the crystals absord the pee, so when you scoop, you only scoop the poop, which is faster and easier. And there's none of that clay clump breakage you get with the clumping litters. This is what the future is about. This is progress. Only twenty years ago you had to empty an entire pan of litter and fuss with trash bags, now the miracle of science has brought us silicon dessicant and litter pearls. I [heart] the 21st century.