Growing plants on our porch is basically an act of cruelty but we’ve been doing it for the past 3 years. “Porch” may be the wrong term, as its more like “the top of the downstairs neighbor’s roof”. Our space is railings and a black tar cover, no roof of our own to ward off the sun in what essentially becomes a killing field for tiny veg and flowers. Half a sunny day without water and the poor things shrivel up to nothing but W. has been working on a system to counteract this.
The first year something came and bit the tops off all the small tomato plants one night. All of them. It was a tough year in many ways and we never identified the culprit but the act served both as a warning and a metaphor. Do not leave your fragile side exposed or the hardened beings of the city will come and chomp it down. It was probably squirrels or possibly birds – something unchallenged by the lack of stairs – or maybe aliens.
This year we have 2 types of tomatoes, jalapenos, sage, and another type of pepper that will never bear fruit but which we cannot bear to throw away. There are chives which will last through anything and have been there for years, a thyme plant, basil, several types of orange flowers and geraniums. There are also 2 ceramic worms from England (highly cute), plastic luminescent mushrooms and butterflies, and a tiny stuffed-animal cat under a glass bowl.
This morning we harvested the first “fruits” of our labor (the labor consisting of manic watering, plus some early pawing at the dirt to plant the things). We made a tomato, jalapeno, and basil salad and had it for breakfast. And I realized that one of the things about having a garden outside your door is that you can be completely impulsive: if you suddenly have an idea you can make it, as long as you have the ingredients. One day I will get a fig tree.