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Full disclosure: I like oldies and classic rock.

Well…some oldies and classic rock…like the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison, for instance. And lately, as it’s getting chillier and chillier, I’ve had that song “Turn, Turn, Turn,” by the Byrds, stuck in my head. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted…”

Despite my observance that this is true, I still feel sad that the summer/growing season is coming to an end. It’s sad when things end. And I’m sad to bid farewell to my little urban garden, after creating and tending to it for six months.

Which clearly explains why my Carmen and yellow bell pepper plants now live inside, under an UV light, and why I step outside to tuck my beans in with a beach blanket every night. I’m just not ready to let go.

But what is this desire to cling on to that we enjoy, instead of being more gracious about enjoying and releasing and then moving on? Shouldn’t I be all yogic and zen and “it’s the way of the universe, man” in my tie-dyed yoga unitard? (Or is that just my stereotypical vision of a yogi?!)

Anyway, I steeled my will, gave up hope that the green tomatoes still clinging to the vine were going to somehow ripen, and ripped the plant out to free up space to plant lettuce–a heartier crop for colder temps.

Side note on lettuce-growing: um…those seeds are TINY. Minuscule. Minute. Itty-bitty. Teeny-weeny. Get the picture?

Additionally, they need to be planted half an inch apart, in rows two inches apart, and covered under one-quarter of an inch of dirt. Um…do you know how small all of those measurements are? My big clumsy fingers could barely manage to pick up a seed at a time!

So basically, I got impatient and sprinkled them haphazardly around and then sprinkled some dirt over them. We’ll see how/if that works.

One thing I have definitely learned this season: plants WANT to grow. They want to survive. They want to live. They will surmount incredible odds to make this happen. Whether it’s a tomato plant that grew from a discarded shell out of a carpet, or plants that made it through the ten plagues, they really do have amazing resilience. Sort of like people, but, you know, greener and leafier 🙂

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Holy Garden Buddha! It’s week 26. That means that I’ve been at this urban gardener thing for half a year. It’s definitely been an adventure. We’ve had some highs–beautiful plants, lots of produce–and some lows–plagues of monsoon, disease, and insects. Oh, and let’s not forget that personal low of having to help the zucchini “reproduce”–aka host a zucchini sperm bank and act as a fertility specialist. Ew.

Anyway, so now it’s October 14 and it’s become seasonably cool. Though it doesn’t stem my sadness that summer’s over (sniff, sniff), it’s interesting to see how the veggies respond to this change in seasons. It’s definitely curtains for the tomatoes, with scroungy, fading plants and only an occasional ripe fruit.

Although…the cherry plant that I found growing out of the outdoor carpet (let me repeat that as we pause to admire the resilience and determination of nature: the cherry tomato that I found growing out of the outdoor carpet–no dirt, no food, not even a pot of its own to call home) is still producing a few beautiful, orange sun-golds. But that’s about it. The other guys–Earthbox and potted plants alike–have pretty much come to an end. Farewell, old friends. The green tomatoes that are still on the vine probably won’t end up ripening. Hmmm…friend green tomatoes, anyone?

Future fried green tomatoes
“Darwin” – the amazingly resilient cherry tomato

 The Carmen pepper plant has 11 beautiful ripe horn-shaped reds ready to be harvested. What an amazing plant. Highly recommend. I will definitely be making a gardening note to self to invest in this lady next year. Actually, as I’ve been picking peppers, I saved some seeds, dried them, and put them away in an envelope. I’m sure I probably messed it up, but how cool would it be if I had a second generation Carmen next year? As in, Carmen’s daughter? Then Carmen’s granddaughter? A whole family tree of Carmens?! How cool, you ask? Very cool.

Now…what to do with 11 Carmens. To freeze or to cook, that is the question…

Every lady loves a nice big pepper

In the meantime, back to the change in seasons. As it cools off and tomato-pepper season winds down (oh, sweet sadness), it’s time to put in greens: lettuce, spinach, kale, etc. Leafy greens tolerate the cold well. So do herbs…which are still growing great guns.

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‘ve been wondering a lot lately about the nitty-gritty details of how exactly a flower becomes a vegetable. I get that it’s all stages, but how, precisely, do petals become pepper skins? How do pretty pink blossoms become beans?

Still not sure…but it sure is happening!

A tiny little baby bean

Then I started thinking, these beans are supposed to be 45 days to harvest…they should be bigger than this. I mean, no pressure because I’m still in awe that plants can produce fruit at all, given that they consume only sunshine and rain (or in the case of this inadvertent gardener, water from my kitchen sink and Algoflash), but still…where’s the bean?

Upon closer inspection, which required significant intrusion into their personal space (it was the flora equivalent of going to the gyno for the dreaded annual female exam as I lifted their leaves and poked around underneath), I found there are beans a plenty! Not quite ready for picking, but growing impressively nonetheless!

How was this guy been hiding from me? Maybe because unless you’re looking, a bean looks like a bean-plant stem!

In other gardening news, it appears tomato season is nearly at an end as leaves slowly crumple up and turn brown. But that hasn’t stopped the Earthbox from producing another 1.83 lbs. this week.

And in Pepper Land, Carmen is still going strong, with another five reds ready for picking and seven greens in the pipeline. (Pipeline?! Yikes…apparently, you can take the girl out of the corporate world…but you can’t take the corporate out of the girl. Need more yogic analogy!)

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ou know that expression, “When it rains, it pours?” Well for this urban gardener, when tomatoes come in, they pour in–2.45# from the Earthbox and .30 from the traditional potted method. And then they keep growing! Ditto on the influx on beautiful baby bell peppers!

After picking all these ripe beauties, I glanced over at the baby beans, and was stunned to notice this beautiful pink flower. Now, I’m new to bean-growing, so pardon my excitement, but I can’t wait to see this lovely bud turn into a green bean!!

I waited and waited. I watched and I watched. And, after an eternity (or really, just 21 weeks), finally…here they are! My first real harvest of tomatoes–and two gorgeous Carmens (those sassy red peppers) to boot.

In terms of the Earthbox v. traditional potted growing method contest…the tomatoes on the left are all from the Earthbox and weighed in 5.16 pounds. The four on the right are from the traditional growing method and weighed in at .87 pound. Hmmm. Looks like we have a clear winner. (And just to refresh your memory, both plants were the same size, type, planted at the same time etc.) Kudos, Earthbox!

OK. Sure they’re simply gorgeous, but how do they TASTE? Well, I can state with utmost honesty that these are some of the very best fresh tomatoes I’ve ever had in my entire tomato-consuming existence. And while I’d like to credit my outstanding gardening skills, in reality, it’s probably just that Black Krims are some tasty toms!

Vine to Table: Sun Gold Cherries
Vine to Table: Black Krims
Beautiful Carmen
OK–only a true gardening geek would get obsessed with a pepper and their shadow…guilty!

Nature is amazing. I know it’s been said before, by me and many others, but nature is just so freaking cool.

On a third-floor ledge in the middle of the city, with only a plastic pot to hold their roots, consuming only water, sunshine, (and Algoflash organic liquid plant food), these guys are able to produce flowers which eventually transform themselves into fruit. It’s just so crazy and cool!

And while I’m still not exactly sure how petals become peppers, I got a few shots of these in-progress. So pretty!

If only we could be so productive, while consuming so little!

t’s Labor Day weekend, usually signifying the end of summer and a farewell to wearing white jeans (sniff, sniff). Acknowledging this, the weather’s turned from upper 90s to a more manageable mid-70s, but the blue skies and sunshine remain. And for that, this inadvertent yogini’s garden thanks you, weather gods, because all these green tomatoes and peppers need continued sun to continue ripening.

Maybe I’m the only one, but I find the zebra-like striations as peppers and tomatoes turn from green to ripe-red absolutely lovely.

Big and beautiful and starting to ripen
Zebra-like striations from green to red – so lovely!
These red, horn-shaped Carmens look spicy but aren’t…

My first sun gold cherries…quite a coup! From a two-inch tall seedling I found growing in the outdoor carpet with two tiny leaves to abig, tall fruit-producing plant! Evolutionarily primed for survival? These seeds are worth saving!