Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Rooftop Garden; or, The Lone Pepper Pot

Have you ever met a chili pepper plant you didn't like?  I have three -- Fresno Chile, Chile D'Arbol and Shishito.  These three plants comprise the vastness of my new rooftop garden.

I recently posted links on my Facebook page regarding produce that I have delivered to my door because it is local, certified organic and it relieves me of the responsibility of weekly treks to the farmers market.  This post sparked a conversation from my Midwestern friend, Deb, regarding the winter weather and hopeful gardening.  As I live in a condo with no lawn and two balconies, I was soon dreaming about my own planter possibilities.  However, it did not take too long before I was reminded that my two balconies are on the north side of our home so mostly shaded throughout the day.  This is not good for plants which require direct sunlight for most of the day.  Dang.

Another conversation with my Denver friend, Rob, moved quickly from me expressing frustration with my gardening possibilities to the idea of planter gardening on the roof of my five story building.  A garden comprised of a layer of protective liner, dirt and rows of plants would have been the ideal.  However, for me, the red tape would be far too much to force my way through.  And, being a fan of instant gratification, I opted for the more simple container option.  I didn't ask for anyone's permission.  I went for it!  Ha!  Towanda!  Hence, the one pot with three variety pepper plants.  Yes!  It's a start, right?   I figure, this is a good way to gain exposure to the idea of rooftop gardening.  This one pot is something I can build upon.  I have dreams of tomatoes, radishes and garlic.  Maybe onions?  But this is where I have begun.

Whilst still contemplating the idea, I found myself pulling into my local Armstrong nursery.  There I found vast varieties of pepper plants, tomatoes, etc.  And, I decided upon my three.  I considered the tomatoes, but figured it might be best to start slowly.  I wouldn't want to overwhelm myself to the point of complete abandon of the entire idea.

For not much money at all, I brought home the three plants and a bit of potting soil and set to gardening on my kitchen floor.

I placed the plants into one large container and added enough soil to nourish them both now in their infancy and later when they are larger with more root space needs.

Then, I climbed the three stories (from our second floor unit) to the roof with my pot and camera in hand.  After forcing my way through the unfrequented door, I found a space that I hope will support my plants solar and wind protection needs.  After walking around and testing the breeze, I chose this space against the southern wall of the northern stair well.  Can you see it?  It's like a game of Where's Waldo?.  Here's a hint: it is not an air conditioning unit.  See it now?

You may notice, however, a certain tilt to the right (or East, in this case).  My concern for my plants is the on shore flow (ocean breeze).  The kind Armstrong lady who assisted me in realizing my gardening dream insisted that I wouldn't need to support my plants with a trelice like you would need for tomato plants.  Yet, my farmer instincts tell me that perhaps a tad of support from a stick and small amount of twine would be of harmless benefit.  I'll let you know what comes of this idea.

So, here we are.  Rooftop Container Gardening 101, Day 1.   Currently, Google Weather for my zip code says:
59°F | °C

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: W at 17 mph
Humidity: 55%

I sure hope my plants like this.

Thank you to Deb and to Rob for planting the seeds.  Ya'll come back and check on my garden real soon.  Ya hear?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Brief Purge of Emotional Goop

I started my blog many months ago.  And, I pursued a consistent posting until I stopped dead in my tracks, shaken by criticism.  That's my fault, not anybody else's fault.  Regardless, I have not posted until now - 5 months later.

I know better than this.  I know better than to let someone else's poorly considered opinion drag me down.  But this time, I did.  Someone who I thought was very close to me offered "I just don't find it interesting.  I guess it's a girl thing."  This hurt my feelings greatly and for so many different reasons.  It played into a dismissing gesture toward my gender.  I'm a girl so what I say must not be valid.  What did this say about the men who followed my blog?  It played into a careless comment without supporting reason.  They could not provide any constructive criticism for me to consider in going forward.  This person could not find one shred of any of my blogs to which they felt appreciative or relative.  What hurt was that the door was simply slammed and blamed on my gender.  He wasn't seeing me for me and, when pressed, would not allow me to see him beyond the shut-out.  There was no room for discussion.  This pissed me off.

I can take criticism.  I might take it well or I might get defensive.  Usually, however, I will think it over and lose the defensiveness eventually.  But to be shut down flatly, I have difficulty accepting this.  I had a problem with this one because it came from someone who had supported the idea of my writing.  We don't talk about my writing anymore.  In fact, we don't talk about much of anything relative to me specifically anymore.

So, what has changed?  Why am I blogging right now?

I let go of that persons opinion.  I let go of their hold on me.  I let go of any expectation of them understanding who I am or what my perspective means.  I let go of the notion that they might enjoy something I have produced.  I let go of them.  And, I have returned to me.

The title of my blog is "Dione du Jour (or not)."  My name is Dione.  It doesn't say "Bob du Jour" or "Betty du Jour."  It's me, no one else.  I hope to blog most days.  I may not make them all and that is just darn tootin' ok.  Hence, the "or not."  If I don't get in a daily blog, so be it.  That would be far too predictable anyway, right?

I think the lesson for me here is that I need not be so invested in those that would criticize without merit.  I welcome your constructive criticism and, in fact, even that which you simply just don't vibe on.  But if you don't vibe with every single one of my entries, then I'm guessing that you don't vibe with me.  And, that's fine.  It only hurts when I care about you.  I like a good challenge but even better for me is a calm and intellectual discussion or debate - one that is researched and one in which we remain open to the possibilities.  If you throw up your hands and shut me out, guess what, I'll do the same whether I want to or not.  This is still a challenge for me.

Now, I don't want to be the person on American Idol that stands there after the entire panel has told me to consider a career change and I contend that they are wrong.  At least on Idol (now that Paula is gone), the criticism remains constructive.  And, I have always sided with Simon's critique.  But I don't think the panel is shutting me down.  Maybe there is one, but I've voted him off the island.  Ha!

Do come back to visit my blog and it is my intention to do the same.  I have so very much that I would like to share with each and every one of you.  Thank you for stopping by.