Sunday, July 9, 2023

Urban Gardening Notes: The Wind, The Afternoon Sun, and Pressing On

Bitter gourd/melon
I got mixed results from sowing seeds a bit too late in the year.  Or is it?  It's El NiƱo season so I can be wrong. The wind funnel effect of living in a building sandwiched in between other buildings is proving to be tricky in trying to grow my own bitter gourd (ampalaya) which is a climbing vine. I'm still trying and the vines are still holding on so we'll see. The wind may just have an effect in making the surviving vines stronger and more resilient.

Basil getting bigger
I also moved some of the potted plants around, taking the basil and hot chili plants out of the longer western sun exposure (my balcony faces west though the ledge casts a shadow on one side of the balcony area) along with my dragontail plants (Epipremnum pinnatum) which thrives more on reflected light compared to its cousin, the Pothos plants I have in abundance (I use a few pots indoors for cleaning indoor air and letting a bit of nature inside).

The basil is thriving, growing larger leaves which in a few weeks' time, I can use in cooking or to make an aromatic olive oil mix since I would have to trim it anyway.  But I'm so happy it's doing well. The other time I tried growing some, the Eurasian sparrows who I used to feed in my former abode, would feed on the leaves when they ran out of birdseed.  I miss the birds and I wonder if they themselves wonder what happened to the human who used to feed them daily for almost two decades. In time, I would go back to feeding the birds and hopefully some of the sparrows can find my new location.  For the time being, I'm happy growing some of my own herbs and edibles.

Large leaves of oregano

In any case, some of the older seeds may have gone past their germinating stage (the narra, particularly). I've resown the newer sage seeds and wondering if the Ramgo seeds  got were not ideal.  If anything, it's teaching me more patience. Also, hope. It's never too late to sow anything, just see what comes up.

I only get to really tinker in the garden on the weekends but I feel blessed to have this patch of green amidst the concrete (literally, I'm surrounded by views of concrete facade, walls, roofing all around). The smell of the earth is wonderful. When I have to pinch off a few leaves of my oregano plants, the scent is incredibly aromatic. Even if you doubt the power of aromatherapy, a whiff of this fresh scent can make you change your mind. It has an immediate effect, the citrus-sy scent is invigorating. I guess, even if you have little knowledge of plants, it's hard not to be able to identify the scent of oregano, even blindfolded.

Dragontails are recovering and leafing nicely

One other thing I've observed and reaffirmed is the fact that plants are happiest when they're in the company of other plants. Maybe, even if I didn't the story of Cleve Backster who unintentionally placed a plant under a polygraph and discovered that plants do react to their surroundings, know the humans who tend to them, and communicate with other plants even at a distance, I would've arrived at the same conclusion. They talk to each other. They react to our touch. They react to our energies. And oh, they love some types of music/frequencies. 

I dunno. Even when I was young and steeped in the Roman Catholic dogmas, I've always believed nothing is really inanimate, even the rocks, the house, the earth. My faith is in a flux right now but I think I always have this bond with things in my surroundings, whether they be cats or dogs, rocks, even appliances. It's most probably the reason why appliances seem to go haywire all at the same time.  I digress. I'm off tinkering in the garden while waiting for my fridge to defrost totally (I've got a manual defrost, 21 year old refrigerator). Maybe, even play some 430Hz music to keep them happy.


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