Snappy Answers runs every Saturday afternoon. Send your questions, be they tough or trivial, to [email protected].
Spring is here, and I want to get started on building a garden on my third-storey deck. It’s only 8-by-8 feet and faces south, so it has direct sunlight for, like, 20 hours a day. Last summer, everything I tried growing either burnt in the hot summer sun or was dug up by squirrels. Do you have any tips for building an urban garden?
Karen, Karen, quite contrar-en, how does your garden grow?
With a little TLC and DIY. Summer plants, especially outdoor ones, need to be treated like you’d treat a hangover: with lots of water and rest.
For the former, you could buy a fancy water reservoir container, or you could knock off the effect with an old pop bottle: cut off the bottom, turn it upside down, stick the neck into the soil, and voila, water funnel. Speaking of soil, the best kind (both for the environment and for water and nutrient absorption) is a compost-based mix, with peat moss if, you know, you’ve got peat moss lying around. Coffee grounds also make great fertilizer.
For plant shades as cool as Ray-Bans, pick up cheap, whimsical parasols in Chinatown and place them over pots. (We saw it on TV once, so it definitely works.) If those don’t keep the rodents out with the sun, try placing loose plastic mesh over the containers. We also hear that little Thai chili peppers placed in the soil make container gardens too hot to touch for the bushy-tailed pests.
I can’t find much in the way of CSA in Toronto. Am I crazy?
Probably, but who isn’t?
The closest Community-Supported (or Shared) Agriculture centre we’ve heard of is Thurston Organic Farm, which isn’t really all that close. Worth the trek? Decide by June, when the CSA season begins and membership registration closes.
Can I wear black/dark nail polish in the spring?
Black? No, but not because it’s seasonally inappropriate (is there even such a thing anymore?); rather because it’s, oh, three seasons old. The newest black is navy, but we’re already bored. Try a deep poison green instead—the perfect antidote to this spring’s floral profusion. Test the perfect shade on the cheap by mixing a few drops of the old Black Satin with Rimmel’s emerald green lacquer.